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20,000 Leapes liler tlie Seas. 



The year 1866 was signalized by a remarKable incident, 
a mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon, which doubt- 
less no one has yet forgotten. Not to mention rumors 
which agitated the maritime population, and excited the 
public mind, even in the interior of continents, seafaring 
men were particularly excited. Merchants, common 
sailors, captains of vessels, skippers, both of Europe and 
America, naval oflBcers of all countries, and the govern- 
ments of several states on the two continents, were deeply 
interested in the matter. 

For some time past, vessels had been met by "an 
enormous thing," a long object, spindle-shaped, occasion- 
ally phosphorescent, and infinitely larger and more rapid 
in its movements than a whale. 

The facts relating to this apparition (entered in various 
log-books) agreed in most respects as to the shape of the 
object or creature in question, the untiring rapidity of its 
movements, its surprising power of locomotion, and the 
peculiar life with which it seemed endowed. If it was a 
cetacean, it surpassed in size all those hitherto classified 
in science. Taking into consideration the mean of obser- 
vations made at divers times — rejecting the timid estimate 
of those who assigned to this object a length of two ban- 


dred feet, equcilly with the exaggerated opinions which cet 
it down as a mile in width and three in length — we might 
fairly conclude that this mysterious being surpassed great- 
ly all dimensions admitted by the .ichthyologists of the 
day, if it existed at all. And that it did exist was an un- 
deniable fact; and, with tliat tendency which disposes the 
human mind in favor of the marvelous, we can understand 
the excitement produced in the entire world by this super- 
natural apparition. As to classing it iu the list of fables, 
the idea was out of the question. 

On the 20th of July, 1866, the steamer Governor Hig- 
ginson, of the Calcutta and Burnach Steam Navigation 
Company, had met this moving mass five miles off the east 
coast of Australia. Captain Baker thought at first that he 
was in the presence of an unknown sand- bank; he even 
prepared to determine its exact position, when two columns 
of water, projected by the inexplicable object, shot witli a 
hissing noise a hundred and fifty feet up into the air. 
Now, unless the sand-bank had been submitted to the in- 
termittent eruption of a geyser, the Governor Higginson 
had to do neither more nor less than with an aquatic mam- 
mal, unknown till then, which threw up from its blow- 
holes columns of water mixed with air and vapor. 

Similar facts were observed on the 23d of July in the 
same year in the Pacific Ocean, by the Columbus, of the 
West India and Pacific Steam Navigation Company. But 
this extraordinary cetaceous creature could transport itself 
from one place to another with surprising velocity; as, in 
an interval of three days, the Governor Higginson and the 
Columbus had observed it at two different points of the 
chart, separated by a distance of more than seven hundred 
nautical leagues. 

Fifteen days later, two thousand miles further off, the 
Helvetia, of the Compagnie-Nationale, and the Shannon, 
of the Royal Mail Steamship Company, sailing to wind- 
ward in that portion of the Atlantic lying between the 
United States and Europe, respectively signaled the mon- 
ster to each other in 42° 15' N. lat. and 60° 35' W. long. 
In these simultaneous observations, they thought them- 
selves justified in estimating the minimum length of the 
mammal at more than three hundred and fifty feet, as the 
Shannon and Helvetia were of smaller dimensions than it, 
though they measured three hundred feet over all. 


Now the largest whales, those which frequent those 
parts of the sea around the Aleutian, Kulammak, and 
Umgullich Islands, have never exceeded the length of sixty 
yards, if they attain that. 

These reports arriving one after the other, with fresh 
observations made on board the transatlantic ship Pereira, 
a collision which occurred between the Etna of the Inraan 
Line and the monster, a proces verbal directed by the 
oflBcers of the French frigate Norinandie, a very accurate 
survey made by the staff of Commodore Fitz-James on 
board the Lord Clyde, greatly influenced public opinion. 
Light-thinking people jested upon the phenomenon, but 
grave practical countries, such as England, America, and 
Germany, treated the matter more seriously. 

In every place of great resort the monster was the 
fashion. They sang of it in the cafes, ridiculed it in the 
papers, and represented it on the stage. All kinds of 
stories were circulated regarding it. There appeared in 
the papers caricatures of every gigantic and imaginary 
creature, from the white whale, the terrible "Moby 
Dick " of hyperborean regions, to the immense kraken 
whose tentacles could entangle a shipof five hundred tons, 
and hurry it into the abyss of the ocean. The legends of 
ancient times were even resuscitated, and the opinions of 
Aristotle and Pliny revived, who admitted the existence of 
these monsters, as well as the Norwegian tales of Bishop 
Pontoppidan, the accounts of Paul Heggede, and, last of 
all, the reports of Mr. Harrington (whose good faith no 
one could suspect), who affirmed that, being on board the 
Castillan, in 1857, he had seen this enormous serpent, 
which had never until that time frequented any other 
seas but those of the ancient " Constitutionel." 

Then burst forth the interminable controversy between 
the credulous and the incredulous in the societies of 
savants and scientific iournals. *'The question of the 
monster " inflamed all minds. Editors.of scientific journals, 
quarreling with believers in the supernatural, spilled seas 
of ink during this memorable campaign, some even draw- 
ing blood, for, from the sea-serpent, they came to direct 

For six months war was waged with various fortune in 
the leading articles of the Geogi*aphical Institution ot 
Brazil, the Royal Academy of Science of Berlin, the British 


Association, the Smithsonian Institution of Washington, 
in the discussions of the "Indian Archipelago," of the 
Cosmos of the Abbe Moigno, in the Mittheihingen of 
Petermann, in the scientific chronicles of the great journals 
of France and other countries. The cheaper journals 
replied keenly and with inexhaustible zest. These satiri- 
cal writers parodied a remark of Linnaeus, quoted by the 
adversaries of the monster, maintaining " that nature did 
not make fools," and adjured their contemporaries not to 
give the lie to nature, by admitting the existence of 
krakens, sea-serpents, "Moby Dicks," and other lucubra- 
tions of delirious sailors. At length an article in a well- 
known satirical journal, by a favorite contributor, the 
chief of the staff, settled the monster, like Hippolytus, 
giving it the death-blow amidst a universal burst of 
laughter. Wit had conquered science. 

During the first mouths of the year 1867, the question 
seemed buried never to revive, when new facts were 
brought before the public. It was then no longer a 
scientific problem to be solved, but a real danger seriously 
to be avoided. The question took quite another shape. 
The monster became a small island, a rock, a reef, but a 
reef of indefinite and shifting proportions. 

On the 5th of March, 1867, the Moravian, of the Mon- 
treal Ocean Company, finding herself during the night in 
27° 30' lat. and 73° 15' long., struck on her starboard 
quarter a rock, marked in no chart for that part of the 
sea. Under the combined efforts of the wind and its four 
hundred horse-power, it was going at the rate of thirteen 
knots. Had it not been for the superior strength of the 
hull of the Moravian, she would liave been broken by the 
shock, and gone down with the 237 passengers she was 
bringing home from Canada. 

The accident happened about five o'clock in the morn- 
ing, as the day was breaking. The officers of the quarter- 
deck hurried to the after-part of the vessel. Tliey exam- 
ined the sea with the most scrupulous attention. They 
saw nothing but a strong eddy about three cables' length 
distant, as if the surface had been Violently agitated. The 
bearings of the place were taken exactly, and the Mora- 
vian continued its route without apparent damage. Had 
it struck on a submerged rock, or on an enormous wreck? 
Tliey could not tell; but on examination of the ship's bot- 


torn when undergoing repairs, it was found that part a|^^ 
her keel was broken. tHI 

This fact, so grave in itself, might perhaps have been 
forgotten like many others, if, three weeks after, it had 
not been re-enacted under similar circumstances. But, 
thanks to the nationality of the victim of the shock, 
thanks to the reputation of the company to which the 
vessel belonged, the circumstance became extensively cir- 

The 13th of April, 1867, the sea being beautiful, the 
breeze favorable, the Scotia, of the Cunard Company's line, 
found herself in 15** 12' long, and 45*^ 37' lat. She was 
going at the speed of thirteen knots and a half. 

At seventeen minutes past four in the afternoon, while 
the passengers were assembled at lunch in the great saloon, 
a slight shock was felt on the hull of the Scotia, on her 
quarter, a little aft of the port paddle. 

The Scotia had not struck, but she had been struck, 
and seemingly by something rather sharp and penetrating 
than blunt. The shock had been so slight that no one 
had been alarmed, had it not been for the shouts of the 
carpenter's watch, who rushed on to the bridge, exclaim- 
ing, "We are sinking! we are sinking!" At first the 
passengers were much frightened, but Captain Anderson 
hastened to reassure them. The danger could not be 
imminent. The Scotia, divided into seven compartments 
by strong partitions, could brave with impunity any leak. 
Captain Anderson went down immediately into the hold. 
He found that the sea was pouring into the fifth compart- 
ment; and the rapidity of the influx proved that the force 
of the water was considerable. Fortunately this compart- 
ment did not hold the boilers, or the fires would have 
been immediately extinguished. Captain Anderson ordered 
the engines to be stopped at once, and one of the men 
went down to ascertain the extent of the injury. Some 
minutes afterward they discovered the existence of a 
large hole, of two yards in diameter, in the ship's bottom. 
Such a leak could not be stopped; and the Scotia, her 
paddles half submerged, was obliged to continue her 
course. She was then three hundred miles from Cape 
Clear; and after three days' delay, which caused great 
uneasiness in Liverpool, she entered the basin of the com- 


The engineers visited the Scotia, which was put in dry- 
dock. They could scarcely believe it possible; at two 
yurds and a half below water-mark was a regular rent, in 
the form of an isosceles triangle. The broken place in 
tlie iron plates was so perfectly defined, that it could not 
lijive been more neatly done by a punch. It was clear, 
then, that the instrument producing the perforation was 
not of a common stamp: and after having been driven 
with prodigious strength, and piercing an iron plate 1 3-8 
inches thick, had withdrawn itself by a retrograde motion 
truly inexplicable. 

Such was the last fact, which resulted in exciting once 
more the torrent of public opinion. From this moment, 
all unlucky casualties which could not be otherwise ac- 
counted for were put down to the monster. 

Upon this imaginary creature rested the responsibility 
of all these shipwrecks, which unfortunately were con- 
siderable; for of three thousand ships whose loss was 
annually recorded at Lloyd's, the number of sailing and 
steam ships supposed to be totally lost, from the absence 
of all news, amounted to not less than two hundred. 

Now, it was the '' monster " who, justly or unjustly, 
was accused of their disappearance, and, thanks to it, 
communication between the different continents became 
more and more dangerous. The public demanded per- 
emptorily that the seas should at any price be relieved 
from this formidable cetacean. 



At the period when these events took place, I had just 
returned from a scientific research in the disagreeable Ter- 
ri*;ory of Nebraska, in the United States. In virtue of my 
office as Assistant Professor in the Museum of Natural 
History in Paris, the French government had attached me 
to that expedition. After six months in Nebraska, I 
arrived in New York toward the end of March, laden with 
a precious collection. My departure for France was fixed 
for the first days in May. Meantime, I was occupying my- 
self in classifying my mineralogical, botanical, and zoolog' 
ical riches, when the accident happened to the Scotia. 


I was perfectly up in the subject which wns the question 
of the day. How could I be otherwise? I had read and 
re-read all the American and European papers without be- 
ing any nearer a conclusion. This mystery puzzled me. 
Under the impossibility of forming an opinion, I jumped 
from one extreme to the other. That there really was 
something could not be doubted, and the incredulous were 
invited to put their finger on the wound of the Scotia. 

On my arrival in New York, the question was at its 
height. The hypothesis of the floating island, and the 
unapproachable sand-bank, supported by minds little com- 
petent to form a judgment, was abandoned. And, indeed, 
unless this shoal had a machine in its stomach, how could 
it change its position with such astonishing rapidity? 
. From the same cause, the idea of a floating hull of an 
enormous wreck was given up. 

There remained then only two possible solutions of the 
question, which created two distinct parties: on one side, 
those who were for a monster of colossal strength; on the 
other, those who were for a submarine vessel of enormous 
motive power. 

But this last hypothesis, plausible as it was, could not 
stand against inquiries made in both worlds. That a 
private gentleman should have such a machine at his com- 
mand was not likely. "Where, when, and how was it built? 
and how could its construction have been kept secret? 
Certainly a government might possess such a destructive 
machine. And in these disastrous times, when the inge- 
nuity of man has multiplied the power of weapons of war, 
it was possible that, without the knowledge of others, a 
state might try to work such a formidable engine. After 
the chassepots came the torpedoes, after the torpedoes the 
submarine rams, then — the reaction. At least, I hope so. 

But the hypothesis of a war-machine fell before the 
declaration of governments. As public interest was in 
question, and transatlantic communications suffered, their 
veracity could not be doubted. But, how admit that the 
construction of this submarine boat had escaped the public 
eye? For a private gentleman to keep the secret under 
such circumstances would be very difficult, and for a state 
whose every act is persistently watched by powerful rivals, 
certainly impossible. 

After inquiries made in England, France, Eussia, Prus* 


gia, Spain, Italy, and America, even in Turkey, the hy- 
pothesis of a submarine monitor was definitely rejected. 

Upon my arrival in New York several persons did me 
the honor of consulting me on the phenomenon in ques- 
tion. I had published in France a work in quarto, in two 
volumes, entitled, "Mysteries of the Great Submarine 
Grounds." This book, highly approved of in the learned 
world, gained for me a special reputation in this rather 
obscure branch of Natural History. My advice was asked. 
As long as I could deny the reality of the fact, I confined 
myself to a decided nagative. But soon finding myself 
driven into a corner, I was obliged to explain myself cate- 
gorically. And even ** the Honorable Pierre Aronnax, 
Professor in the Museum of Paris," was called upon by 
the New York Herald to express a definite opinion of 
some sort. I did something. I spoke from want of power 
to hold my tongue. I discussed the question in all its 
forms, politically and scientifically; and I give here an 
extract from a carefully studied article which I published 
in the number of the 30th of April. It ran as follows: 

" After examining one by one the different hypotheses, 
rejecting all other suggestions, it becomes necessary to ad- 
mit the existence of a marine animal of enormous power. 

*' The great depths of the ocean are entirely unknown 
to us. Soundings cannot reach them. What passes in 
those remote depths — what beings live, or can live, twelve 
or fifteen miles beneath the surface of the waters — what 
is the organization of these animals — we can scarcely con- 
jecture. However, the solution of the problem submitted 
to me may modify the form of the dilemma. Either we 
do know all the varieties of beings which people our planet, 
or we do not. If we do not know them all, if Nature has 
still secrets in ichthyology for us, nothing is more con- 
formable to reason than to admit the existence of fishes, 
or cetaceans of other kinds, or even of new species, of an 
organization formed to inhabit the strata inaccessible to 
soundings, and which an accident of some sort, either 
fantastical or capricious, has brought at long intervals to 
the upper level of the ocean. 

"If, on the contrary, we do know all living kinds, we 
must necessarily seek for the animal in question among 
those marine beings already classed; and, in that case, I 


ghould be disposed to admit the existence of a gigantic 

''The common narwhal, or unicorn of the sea, often 
attains a length of sixty feet. Increase its size fivefold or 
tenfold, give it strength proportionate to its size, lengthen 
its destructive weapons, and you obtain the animal re- 
quired. It will have the proportions determined by the 
officers of the Shannon, the instrument required by the 
perforation of the Scotia, and the power necessary to 
pierce the hull of the steamer. 

"Indeed the narwhal is armed with a sort of ivory 
sword, a halberd, according to the expression of certain 
naturalists. The principal tusk has the hardness of steel. 
Some of these tusks have been found buried in the bodies 
of whales, which the unicorn always attacks with success. 
Others have been drawn out not without trouble, from 
the bottoms of ships, which they had pierced through and 
through, as a gimlet pierces a barrel. The Museum of the 
Faculty of Medicine of Paris possesses one of these defen- 
sive weapons, two yards and a quarter in length, and 
fifteen inches in diameter at the base. 

"Very well! suppose this weapon to be six times stronger, 
and the animal ten times more powerful; launch it at the 
rate of twenty miles an hour, and you obtain a shock 
capable of producing the catastrophe required. Until 
further information, therefore, I shall maintain it to be a 
sea-unicorn of colossal dimensions, armed, not with a 
halberd, but with a real spur, as the armored frigates, or 
the " rams " of war, whose massiveness and motive power 
it would possess at the same time. Thus may this in- 
explicable phenomenon be explained, unless there be 
something over and above all that one has ever conjectured, 
seen, perceived or experienced; which is just within the 
bounds of possibility." 

These last words were cowardly on my part; but, up to 
a certain point, I wished to shelter my dignity as Professor, 
and not give too much cause for laughter to the Americans, 
who laugh well when they do laugh. I reserved for my- 
self a way of escape. In effect, however, I admitted tho 
existence of the " monster." My article was warmly dis- 
cussed, which procured it a high reputation. It rallied 
around it a certain number of partisans. The solution it 


proposed gave, at least, full liberty to the imagination. 
The human mind delights in grand conceptions of super- 
natural beings. And the sea is precisdy their best 
vehicle, the only medium through which these giants 
(ivgainst which terrestrial animals, such as elephants or 
rhinoceroses, areas nothing) can be produced or developed. 

The industrial and commercial papers treated the ques- 
tion chiefly from this point of view. The Shipping and 
Mtrcajitile Gazette, the Lloyds^ List, the Pachet-Boai, and 
the Maritime and Colonial Review, all papers devoted to 
insurance companies which threatened to raise their rates 
of premium, were unanimous on this point. Public opin- 
ion had been pronounced. The United States were the 
first in the field; and in New York they made prepara- 
tions for an expedition destined to pursue this narwhal. 
A frigate of great speed, the Abraham Lincoln, was put 
in commission as soon as possible. The arsenals were 
opened to Commander Farragut, who hastened the arming 
of his frigate; but, as ic always happens, tlie moment it 
was decided to pursue the monster, the monster did not 
appear. For two months no one heard it spoken of. No 
ships met with it. It seemed as if this unicorn knew of 
the plots weaving around it. It had been so much talked 
of, even through the Atlantic cable, that jesters pretended 
that this slender fly had stopped a telegram on its pas- 
sage, and was making the most of it. 

So when the frigate had been armed for a long cam- 
paign, and provided with formidable fishing apparatus, 
no one could tell what course to pursue. Impatience 
grew apace, when, on the 2d of June, they learned that a 
steamer of the line of San Francisco, from California to 
Shanghai, had seen the animal three weeks before in the 
North Pacific "Ocean. The excitement caused by this 
news was extreme. The ship was revictualed and well 
stocked with coal. 

Tliree hours before the Abraham Lincoln left Brooklyn 
V)ier, I received a letter worded as follows: 

"To M. Aronnax, Professor in the Museum of Paris, 
'■' Fifth Avenue Hotel, New York, 

"Sir, — If you will consent to join the Abraham Lin- 
coln in this expedition, the government of the United 
States will with pleasure see France represented in the 


enterprise. Commander Farragut has a cabin at your dis- 
posal. Very cordially yours, 

"J. B. HoBSON, Secretary of Marine.'^ 



Three seconds before the arrival of J. B. Hobson's 
letter, I no more thought of pursuing the unicorn than 
of attempting the passage of the North Sea. Three 
seconds after reading the letter of the Honorable Sec- 
retary of Marine, I felt that my true vocation, the sole 
end of my life, was to chase this disturbing monster, and 
purge it from the world. 

But I had just returned from a fatiguing journey, weary, 
and longing for repose. I aspired to nothing more than 
again seeing my country, my friends, my little lodging by 
the Jardin des Plantes, my dear and precious collections. 
But nothing could keep me back! I forgot all — fatigue, 
friends, and collections — and accepted without hesitation 
the offer of the American government. 

''Besides," thought I, "all roads lead back to Europe: 
and the unicorn may be amiable enough to hurry me to- 
ward the coast of France. This worthy animal may allow 
itself to be caught in the seas of Europe (for my partic- 
ular benefit), and I will not bring back less than half a 
yard of his ivory halberd to the Museum of Natural His- 
tory." But ivf the meanwhile I must seek this narwhal 
in the North Pacific Ocean, which, to return to France, 
was taking the road to the antipodes. 

" Conseil," I called in an impatient voice. 

Conseil was my servant, a true, devoted Flemish boy, 
who had accompanied me in all my travels. I liked him, 
and he returned the liking well. He was phlegmatic by 
nature, regular from principle, zealous from habit, evinc- 
ing little disturbance at the different surprises of life, 
very quick with his hands, and apt at any service required 
of him; and, despite his name, never giving advice — even 
when asked for it. 

Conseil had followed me for the last ten years wherever 
science led. Never once did he complain of the length 
or fatigue of a journey, never make an objection to pack 


his portmanteau for whatever country it might be, or 
however far away, whether China or Congo. Besides all 
this, he had good health, which defied all sickness, and 
solid muscles, but no nerves; good morals are understood. 
This boy was thirty years old, and his age to that of his 
master as fifteen to twenty. May I be excused for saying 
that I was forty years old? 

But Conseil had one fault, he was ceremonious to a 
degree, and would never speak to me but in the third 
person, which was sometimes provoking. 

" Conseil," said I again, beginning with feverish hands 
to make preparations for my departure. 

Certainly I was sure of this devoted boy. As a rule, I 
never asked him if it were convenient for him or not to 
follow me in my travels; but this time the expedition in 
question might be prolonged, and the enterprise might be 
hazardous in pursuit of an animal capable of sinking a 
frigate as easily as a nutshell. Here there was matter for 
reflection even to the most impassive man in the world. 
What would Conseil say? 

** Conseil," I called a third time. 

Conseil appeared. 

"Did you call, sir?" said he, entering. 

*' Yes, my boj; make preparations for me and yourself 
too. We leave in two hours." 

*' As you please, sir," replied Conseil, quietly. 

'* Not an instant to lose; lock in my trunk all traveling 
utensils, coats, shirts, and stockings — without counting — 
as many as you can, and make haste." 

**And your collections, sir," observed Conseil." 

" We will think of them by and by." 

" What, the archiotherium, the hyracotherium, the 
oreodons, the cheropotamus, and the other skins?" 

" They will keep them at the hotel." 

** And your live Babiroussa, sir?" 

" They will feed it during our absence, besides, I will 
give orders to forward our menagerie to France." 

" We are not returning to Paris, then?" said Conseil. 

" Oh, certainly," I answered, evasively, *' by making a 

" Will the curve please you, sir?" 

** Oh! it will be nothing; not quite so direct a road, that 
is all. We take passage in the Abraham Lincoln," 


*' As you think proper, sir," coolly replied Couseil. 

*' You see, my friend, it has to do with the monster — 
the famous narwhal. We are going to purge it from the 
seas. The author of a work in quarto, in two volumes, on 
the ' Mysteries of the Great Submarine Grounds,' cannot 
forbear embarking with Commander Farragut. A glorious 
mission, but a dangerous one! We cannot tell where we 
may go; these animals can be very capricious. But we will 
go whether or no; we have got a captain who is pretty 
wide awake." 

I opened a credit account for Babiroussa, and, Conseil 
following, I jumped into a cab. Our luggage was trans- 
ported to the deck of the frigate immediately. I hastened 
on board and asked for Commander Farragut. One of the 
sailors conducted me to the poop, where I found myself 
in the presence of a good-looking officer, who held out his 
hand to me. 

" Monsieur Pierre Aronnax?" said he. 

"Himself," replied I; '* Commander Farragut?" 

"You are welcome. Professor; your cabin is ready for 

I bowed, and desired to be conducted to the cabin des- 
tined for me. 

The Abraham Lincoln had been chosen and equipped 
for her new destination. She was a frigate of great spee<3 ; 
fitted with high-pressure engines which admitted a press- 
ure of seven atmospheres. Under this the Abraham 
Lincoln attained the mean speed of nearly eighteen knots 
and a third an hour — a considerable speed, but, neverthe- 
less, insufficient to grapple with this gigantic cetacean. 

The interior arrangements of the frigate corresponded to 
its nautical qualities. I was well satisfied with my cabin, 
which was in the after- part, opening upon the gun-room. 

" We shall be well off here," said I to Conseil. 

** As well, by your honor's leave, as a hermit-crab in the 
shell of a whelk," said Conseil. 

I left Conseil to stow our trunks conveniently away, and 
remounted the poop in order to survey the preparations 
for departure. At that moment Commander Farragut was 
ordering the last moorings to be cast loose which held the 
Abraham Lincoln to the pier of Brooklyn. So in a quarter 
of an hour, perhaps less, the frigate would have sailed 
without me. I should have missed this extraordinary, 


sn]iernatural, and incredible expedition, the recital of 
wiiicb may well meet with some skepticism. 

But Commander Farragut would not lose a day nor an 
hour in scouring the seas in which the animal had been 
sighted. He sent for tlie engineer. 

" Is the steam full on?" asked he. " Yes, sir," replied 
the engineer. " Go ahead," cried Commander Farragut. 

The quay of Brooklyn, and all that part of New York 
bordering on the East River, was crowded with spectators. 
Three cheers burst successively from five hundred thou- 
sand throats; thousands of handkerchiefs were waved above 
the heads of the compact mass, saluting the Abraham Lin- 
coln, until she reached the waters of the Hudson, at the 
point of that elongated peninsula which forms the town of 
New York. Then the frigate, following the coast of New 
Jersey along the right bank of the beautiful river, covered 
with villas^ passed between the forts, which saluted her 
with their heaviest guns. The Abraham Lincoln answered 
by hoisting the American colors three times, whose thirty- 
nine stars shone resplendent from the mizzen-peak; then 
modifying its speed to take the narrow channel marked by 
buoys placed in the inner bay formed by Sandy Hook 
point, it coasted the long sandy beach, where some thou- 
sands of spectators gave it one final cheer. The escort of 
boats and tenders still followed the frigate, and did not 
leave her until they came abreast of the light-ship, whose 
two lights marked the entrance of New York Channel. 

Six bells struck, the pilot got into his boat, and re- 
joined the little schooner which was waiting under our lee, 
the fires were made up, the screw beat the waves more 
rapidly, the frigate skirted the low yellow coast of Long 
Island; and at eight bells, after having lost sight in the 
northwest of the lights of Fire Island, she ran at full 
steam on to the dark waters of the Atlantic. 



Captain Farragut was a good seaman, worthy of the 
frigate he commanded. His vessel and he were one. He 
was the soul of it. On the question of the cetacean there 
was no doubt in his mind, and he would not allow the ex- 


istence of the animal to be disputed on board. He believed 
in it as certain good women believed in the leviathan — by 
faith, not by reason. The monster did exist, and he liad 
sworn to rid the seas of it. He was a kind of Knight of 
Rhodes, a second Dieudonne de Gozon, going to meet the 
serpent which desolated the island. Either Captain Far- 
ragut would kill the narwhal, or the narwhal would kill 
the captain. There was no third course. 

The officers on board shared the opinion of their chief. 
They were ever chatting, discussing, and calculating the 
various chances of a meeting, watching narrowly the vast 
surface of the ocean. More than one took up his quarters 
voluntarily in the cross-trees, who would have cursed such 
a berth under any other circumstances. As long as the 
sun described its daily course, the rigging was crowded 
with sailors, whose feet were burnt to such an extent by 
the heat of the deck as to render it unbearable; still the 
Abraham Lincoln had not yet breasted the suspected 
waters of the Pacific. As to the ship's company, they de- 
sired nothing better than to meet the unicorn, to harpoon 
it, hoist it on board, and dispatch it. They watched the 
sea with eager attention. 

Besides, Captain Farragut had heard of a certain sum 
of two thousand dollars, set apart for whoever should first 
sight the monster, were he cabin-boy, common seaman, or 

I leave you to judge how eyes were used on board the 
A-braham Lincoln. 

For my own part, I was not behind the others, and left 
to no one my share of daily observation. The frigate 
might have been called the Argus, for a hundred reasons. 
Only one amongst us, Conseil, seemed to protest by his 
indifference against the question which so interested us 
all, and seemed to be out of keeping with the general en- 
thusiasm on board. 

I have said that Captain Farragut had carefully pro- 
vided his ship with every apparatus for catching the gigan- 
tic cetacean. No whaler had ever been better armed. 
We possessed every known engine, from the harpoon 
thrown by the hand to the barbed arrows of the blunder- 
buss, and the explosive balls of the duck-gun. On the 
forecastle lay the perfection of a breech-loading gun, very 
thick at the breech, and very narrow in the bore, th© 


model of which had been in the Exhibition of 1867. This 
precious weapon of American origin could throw with ease 
a conical projectile of nine pounds to a mean distance of 
ten miles. 

Thus the Abraham Lincoln wanted for no means of 
destruction; and, what ,was better still, she had on board 
Ned Land, the prince of harpooners. 

Ned Land was a Canadian, with an uncommon quick- 
ness of hand, and who knew no equal in his dangerous 
occupation. Skill, coolness, audacity, and cunning he 
possessed in a superior degree, and it must be a cunning 
whale or a singularly '' cute " cachalot to escape the stroke 
of his harpoon. 

Ned Land was about forty years of age; he was a tall 
man (more than six feet high), strongly built, grave and 
taciturn, occasionally violent, and very passionate when 
contradicted. His person attracted attention, but above 
all the boldness of his look, which gave a singular expres- 
sion to his face. 

Who calls himself Canadian calls himself French; and 
little communicative as Ned Land was, I must admit that 
he took a certain liking for me. My nationality drew him 
to me, no doubt. It was an opportunity for him to talk, 
and for me to hear, that odd language of Rabelais, which 
is still in use in some Canadian provinces. The harpoon- 
er's family was originally from Quebec, and was already a 
tribe of hardy fishermen when this town belonged to 

Little by little Ned Land acquired a taste for chatting,- 
and I loved to hear the recital of his adventures in the 
polar seas. He related his fishing, and his combats, with 
natural poetry of expression; his recital took the form of 
an epic poem, and I seemed to be listening to a Canadian 
Homer singing the Iliad of the regions of the North. 

I am portraying this hardy companion as I really knew 
him. We are old friends now, united in that unchange- 
able friendship which is born and cemented amidst ex- 
treme dangers. Ah, brave Ned! I ask no more than to 
live a hundred years longer that I may have more time to 
dwell the longer on your memory. 

Now, what was Ned Land's opinion upon the question 
of the marine monster? I must admit that he did not 
believe in the unicorn, and was the only one on board who 


did not share that universal conviction. He even avoided 
the subject, which I one day thought it my duty to press 
upon him. One magnificent evening, the 25th June — 
that is to say, three weeks after our departure — the frigate 
was abreast of Cape Blanc, thirty miles to leeward of the 
coast of Patagonia. We had crossed the Tropic of Capri - 
corn, and the Straits of Magellan opened less than seven 
hundred miles to the south. Before eight days were over 
the Abraham Lincoln would be plowing the waters of the 

Seated on the poop, Ned Land and I were chatting of 
one thing and another as we looked at this mysterious sea 
whose great depths had up to this time been inaccessible 
to the eye of man. I naturally led up the conversation to 
the giant unicorn, and examined the various chances of 
success or failure of the expedition. But seeing that 
Ned Land let me speak without saying too much himself, 
I pressed him more closely. 

"Well, Ned," said I, "is it possible that you are not 
convinced of the existence of this cetacean that we are 
following? Have you any particular reason for oeing so 

The harpooner looked at me fixedly for some momentg 
before answering, struck his broad forehead with his hand 
(a habit of his), as if to collect himself, and said at last, 
*' Perhaps I have, Mr. Aronnax." 

" But, Ned, you, a whaler by profession, familiarized 
with all the great marine mammalia — you, whose imagi- 
nation might easily accept the hypothesis of enormous ceta- 
ceans — you ought to be the last to doubt under such 

" That is just what deceives you, Professor," replied 
Ned. " That the vulgar should believe in extraordinary 
comets traversing space, and in the existence of antedilu- 
vian monsters in the heart of the globe, may well be; but 
neither astronomers nor geologists believe in such chimeras. 
As a whaler, I have followed many a cetacean, harpooned 
a great number, and killed several; but, however strong 
or well-armed they may have been, neither their tails nor 
their weapons would have been able even to scratch the 
iron plates of a steamer." 

"But, Ned, they tell of ships which the teeth of the 
narwhal have pierced through and through." 


*' Wooden ships— that is possible," replied the Cana- 
dian: *'but I have never seen it done; and, until further 
proof, I deny that whales, cetaceans, or sea-unicorns, could 
ever produce the effect you describe." 

" Well, Ned, I repeat it with a conviction resting on the 
logic of facts. I believe in the existence of h mammal 
powerfully organized, belonging to the branch of verte- 
brata, liice the whales, the cachalots, or the dolphins, and 
furnished with a horn of defense of great penetrating 

^*Hum!" said the harpooner, shaking his head with 
the air of a man who would not be convinced. 

" Notice one thing, my worthy Canadian," I resumed. 
** If such an animal is in existence, if it inhabits the depths 
of the ocean, if it frequents the strata lying miles below 
the surface of the water, it must necessarily possess an 
organization the strength of which would defy all com- 

"And why this powerful organization?" demanded 

" Because it requires incalculable strength to keep one's 
self in these strata and resist their pressure. Listen to 
me. Let us admit that the pressure of the atmosphere is 
represented by the weight of a column of water thirty-two 
feet high. In reality the column of water would be 
shorter, as we are speaking of sea-water, the density of 
which is greater than that of fresh water. Very well, 
when you dive, Ned, as many times thirty-two feet of 
water as there are above you, so many times does your 
body bear a pressure equal to that of the atmosphere, that 
is to say, 15 lbs. for each square inch of its surface. It 
follows, then, that at 320 feet this pressure=that of 10 
atmospheres, of 100 atmospheres at 3,200 feet, and of 
1,000 atmospheres at 32,000 feet, that is, about 6 miles; 
which is equivalent to saying that, if you could attain this 
depth in the ocean, each square 3-8 of an inch of the sur- 
face of your body would bear a pressure of 5,600 lbs. Ah! 
my brave Ned, do you know how many squares inches you 
carry on the surface of your body?" 

" I have no idea, Mr. Aronnax." 

** About 6,500; and, ag in reality the atmospheric press- 
ure is about 15 lbs. to the square inch, your 6,500 square 
inches bear at this moment a pressure of 97,500 lbs," 


" Without my perceiving it." 

"Without your perceiving it. And if you are not 
crushed by such a pressure, it is because the air pene- 
trates the interior of your body with equal pressure. 
Hence perfect equilibrium between the interior and ex- 
terior pressure, which thus neutralize each other, and 
which allows you to bear it without inconvenience. But 
in the water it is another thing." 

**Yes, I understand," replied Ned, becoming more 
attentive; '* because the water surrounds me, bat does 
not penetrate." 

'* Precisely, Ned; so that at 32 feet beneath the sur- 
face of the sea you would undergo a pressure of 97,500 
lbs.; at 320 feet, ten times that pressure; at 3,200 feet, 
a hundred times that pressure; lastly, at 32,000 feet, 
a thousand times that pressure would be 97,500,000 lbs., 
that is to say, you would be flattened as if you had 
been drawn from the plates of an hydraulic machine!" 

'* The devil!" exclaimed Ned. 

" Very well, my worthy harpooner, if some vertebrate, 
several hundred yards long, and large in proportion, can 
maintain itself in such depths — of those whose surface is 
represented by millions of square inches, that is by tens 
of millions of pounds, we must estimate the pressure they 
undergo. Consider, then, what must be the resistance of 
their bony structure, and the strength of their organiza- 
tion to withstand such pressure!" 

"Why!" exclaimed Ned Land, "they must be made of 
iron plates eight inches tliick, like the armored frigates." 

"As you say, Ned. And think what destruction such 
a mass would cause, if hurled with the speed of an express 
train against the hull of a vessel." 

" Yes — certainly — perhaps," replied the Canadian, shak- 
en by these figures, but not yet willing to give in. 

" Well, have I convinced you?" 

" You have convinced me of one thing, sir, which is, 
that if such animals do exist at the bottom of the seas, 
they must necessarily be as strong as you say." 

" But if they do not exist, mine obstinate harpooner, 
how explain the accident to the Scotia?" 




The voyage of the Abraham Lincoln was for a long time 
marked by no special incident. But one circumstance 
happened which showed the wonderful dexterity of Ned 
Land, and proved what confidence we might place in 

The 30th of June, the frigate spoke some American 
whalers, from whom we learned that they knew nothing 
about the narwhal. But one of them, the captain of the 
Monroe, knowing that Ned Land had shipped on board 
the Abraham Lincoln, begged for his help in chasing a 
whale they had in sight. Commander Farragut, desirous 
of seeing Ned Land at work, gave him permission to go 
on board the Monroe. And fate served our Canadian so 
well that, instead of one whale, he harpooned two witli a 
double blow, striking one straight to the heart and catch- 
ing the other after some minutes' pursuit. 

Decidedly, if the monster ever had to do with Ned 
Land's harpoon, I would not bet in its favor. 

The frigate skirted the southeast coast of America with 
great rapidity. The 3d of July we were at the opening of 
the Straits of Magellan, level with Cape Vierges. But 
Commander Farragut would not take a tortuous passage, 
but doubled Cape Horn. 

The ship's crew agreed with him. And certainly it 
was possible that they might meet the narwhal in this 
narrow pass. Many of the sailors affirmed 'that the 
monster could not pass there, " that he was too big for 

The 6th of July, about three o'clock in the afternoon, 
the Abraham Lincoln, at fifteen miles to the south, 
doubled tlie solitary island, this last rock at the extremity 
of the American continent to which some Dutch sailors 
gave the name of their native town, Cape Horn. The 
course was taken toward the northwest, and the next day 
the screw of the frigate v/as at last beating the waters of 
the Pacific. 

"Keep your eyes open!"^called out the sailors. 


And they were opened widely. Both eyes and glasses, 
a little dazzled, it is trne, by the prospect of two thousand 
dollars, had not an instant's repose. Day and night they 
watched the surface of the ocean, and even nyctalopes, 
whose faculty of seeing in the darkness multiplies their 
chances a hundred-fold, would have had enough to do to 
gain the prize. 

I myself, for whom money had no charms, was not the 
least attentive on board. Giving but few minutes to my 
meals, but a few hours to sleep, indifferent to either rain 
or sunshine, I did not leave the poop of the vessel. Now 
leaning on the netting of the forecastle, now on the taff- 
rail, I devoured with eagerness the soft foam which 
whitened the sea as far as the eye could reach; and how 
often have I shared the emotion of the majority of the 
crew when some capricious whale raised its black back 
above the waves! The poop of the vessel was crowded in 
a moment. The cabins poured forth a torrent of sailors 
and officers, each with heaving breast and troubled eye 
watching the course of the cetacean. I looked, and 
looked, till I was nearly blind, whilst Conseil, always phleg- 
matic, kept repeating in a calm voice: 

"If, sir, you would not squint so much, you would see 

But vain excitement! the Abraham Lincoln checked its 
speed and made for the animal signaled, a simple whale, 
or common cachalot, which soon disappeared amidst a 
storm of execration. 

But the weather was good. The voyage was being ac- 
complished under the most favorable auspices. It was 
then the bad season in Australia, the July of that zone 
corresponding to our January in Europe; but the sea was 
be'iutiful and easily scanned round a vast circumference. 

The 20th of July, the tropic of Capricorn was cut by 
105'^ of longitude, and the 27th of the same month we 
crossed the equator on the 110th meridian. This passed, 
the frigate took a more decided westerly direction, and 
scoured the central waters of the Pacific. Commander 
Farragut thought, and with reason, that it was better to 
remain in deep water, and keep clear of continents or isl- 
ands, which the beast itself seemed to shun (perhaps be- 
cause there was not enough water for him! suggested the 
greater part of the crew). The frigate passed at some 


distance from the Marquesas and the Sandwich Islands, 
crossed the tropic of Cancer, and made for the China Seas. 
We were on the theater of the last diversions of the mon- 
ster; and to say truth, we no longer lived on board. 
Hearts palpitated fearfully, preparing themselves for future 
incurable aneurism. The entire ship's crew were under- 
going a nervous excitement, of which I can give no idea; 
they could not eat, they could not sleep; twenty times a 
day, a misconception or an optical illusion of some sailor 
seated on the taffrail would cause dreadful perspirations, 
and these emotions, twenty times repeated, kept us in a 
state of excitement so violent that a reaction was unavoid- 

And truly, reaction soon showed itself. For three 
months, during which a day seemed an age, the Abraham 
Lincoln furrowed all the waters of the Northern Pacific, 
running at whales, making sharp deviations from her 
course, veering suddenly from one tack to another, stop- 
ping suddenly, putting on steam, and backing ever and 
anon at the risk of deranging her machinery; and not one 
point of the Japanese or American coast was left unex- 

The warmest partisans of the enterprise now became its 
most ardent detractors. Reaction mounted from the crew 
to^the captain himself, and certainly had it not been for 
resolute determination on the part of Captain Farragut, 
the frigate would have headed due soutliward. This use- 
less search could not last much longer. The Abraham 
Lincoln had nothing to reproach herself with, she had 
done her best to succeed. Never had an American ship's 
crew shown more zeal or patience: its failure could not 
be placed to their charge — there remained nothing but to 

This was represented to the commander. The sailors 
could not hide their discontent, and tlie service suffered. 
I will not say there was a mutiny on board, but after a 
reasonable period of obstinacy. Captain Farragut (as Co- 
lumbus did) asked for three days' patience. If in three 
days the monster did not appear, the man at the helm 
should give three turns of the wheel, and the Abraham 
Lincoln would make for the European seas. 

This promise was made on the 2d of November. It had 
the effect of rallying the ship's crew. The ocean was 


watched with renewed attention. Each one wished for a 
last glance in which to sum up his remembrance. Glasses 
were used with feverish activity. It was a grand defiance 
given to the giant narwhal, and he could scarcely fail to 
answer the summons and ''appear." 

Two days passed, the steam was at half pressure, a 
thousand schemes were tried to attract the attention and 
stimulate the apathy of the animal in case it should be met 
in those parts. Large quantities of bacon were trailed in 
the wake of the ship, to the great satisfaction (I must say) 
of the sharks. Small craft radiated in all directions round 
the Abraham Lincoln as she lay to, and did not leave a 
spot of the sea unexplored. But the night of the 4th of 
November arrived without the unveiling of this submarine 

The next day, the 5th of November, at twelve, the 
delay would (morally speaking) expire; after that time 
Commander Farragut, faithful to his promise, was to turn 
the course to the southeast, and abandon forever the 
northern regions of the Pacific. 

The frigate was then in 31° 15' north latitude and 136° 
42' east longitude. The coast of Japan still remained less 
than two hundred miles to leeward. Night was approach- 
ing. They had just struck eight bells; large clouds veiled 
the face of the moon, then in its first quarter. The sea 
undulated peaceably under the stern of the vessel. 

At that moment I was leaning forward on the starboard 
netting. Conseil, standing near me, was looking straight 
before him. The crew, perched in the ratlines, examined 
the horizon, which contracted and darkened by degrees. 
OflBcers with their night-glasses scoured the growing dark- 
ness; sometimes the ocean sparkled under the rays of the 
moon, which darted between two clouds, then all trace of 
light was lost in the darkness. 

In looking at Conseil, I could see he was undergoing a 
little of the general influence. At least I thought so. 
Perhaps for the first time his nerves vibrated to a senti- 
ment of curiosity. 

" Come, Conseil," said I, " this is the last chance of 
pocketing the two thousand dollars." 

" May! be permitted to say, sir," replied Conseil, "thai- 
I never reckoned on getting the prize; and, had the 


government of the Union offered a hundred, thousand 
dollars, it would have been none the poorer." 

" You are right, Conseil. It is a foolish affair after all, 
and one upon which we entered too lightly. What time 
lost, what useless emotions! We should have been back in 
France six months ago." 

"In your little room, sir," replied Conseil, "and in 
your museum, sir; and I should have already classed all 
your fossils, sir. And the Babiroussa would have been 
installed in its cage in the Jardin des Plantes, and have 
drawn all the curious people of the capital!" 

** As you say, Conseil. I fancy we shall run a fair 
chance of being laughed at for our pains." 

"That's tolerably certain," replied Conseil, quietly; "I 
think they will make fun of you, sir. And, must I say 

" Go on, my good friend." 

" Well, sir, you will only get your deserts.** 


"When one has the honor of being a savant as you are, 
sir, one should not expose one's self to " 

Conseil had not time to finish his compliment. In the 
midst of general silence a voice had just been heard. It 
was the voice of Ned Land shouting: 

" Look out there! the very thing we are looking for; — 
on our weather beam!" 



At this cry the whole ship's crew hurried toward the 
harpooner — commander, officers, masters, sailors, cabin- 
boys; even the engineers left their engines, and the stokers 
t.ieir furnaces. 

The order to stop her had been given, and the frigate 
now simply went on by her own momentum. The dark- 
ness was then profound; and however good the Canadian's 
eyes were, I asked myself how he had managed to see, and 
what he had been able to see. My heartbeat as if it would 
break. But Ned Land was not mistaken, and we all per* 
ceived the object he pointed to. At two cables' lengths 
from the Abraham Lincoln, on the starboard quarter, the 


sea seemed to be illuminated all over. It was not a mere 
phosphoric phenomenon. The monster emerged some fath- 
oms from the water, and then threw out that ver}' intense 
but inexplicable light mentioned in the report of several 
captains. This magnificent irradiation must have been 
produced by an agent of great slmiing power. The lum- 
inous part traced on the sea an immense oval, much elon- 
gated, the center of which condensed a burning heat, 
whose overpowering brilliancy died out by successive gra- 

"It is only an agglomeration of phosphoric particles,** 
cried one of the ofiBcers. 

" No, sir, certainly not," I replied. *' Never did pho- 
lades or salpae produce such a powerful light. That bright- 
ness is of an essentially electrical nature. Besides, see, 
see! it moves: it is moving forward, backward, it is dart- 
ing toward us!" 

A general cry arose from the frigate. 

" Silence!" said the captain; '^ up with the helm, reverse 
the engines." 

The steam was shut off, and the Abraham Lincoln, beat- 
ing to port, described a semicircle. 

" Right the helm, go ahead," cried the captain. 

These orders were executed, and the frigate moved rap- 
idly from the burning light. 

I was mistaken. She tried to sheer off, but the super- 
natural animal approached with a velocity double her 

We gasped for breath. Stupefaction more than fear 
made us dumb and motionless. The animal gained on 
us, sporting with the waves. It made the round of the 
frigate, which was then making fourteen knots, and en- 
veloped it with its electric rings like luminous dust. 
Then it moved away two or three miles, leaving a phos- 
phorescent track, like those volumes of steam that the 
express trains leave behind. All at once from the dark 
line of the horizon whither it retired to gain its momen- 
tum, the monster rushed suddenly toward the Abraham 
Lincoln with alarming rapidity, stopped suddenly about 
twenty feet from the hull, and died out — not diving 
under the water, for its brilliancy did not abate— but 
suddenly, and as if the source of this brilliant emanation 
was exhausted. Then it reappeared on the other side 


of the vessel as if it had turned and slid under the hull. 
Any momeuu a collision might have occurred which would 
have been fatal to us. However, I was astonished ac 
the maneuvers of the frigate. She fled and did not 

On the captain's face, generally so impassive, was an 
expression of unaccountable astonishment. 

'• Mr. Aronnax," he said, "1 do not know with what 
formidable being I have to deal, and I will not impru- 
dently risk my frigate in the midst of this darkness. Be- 
Bides, how attack this unknown thing, how defend one's 
self from it? Wait for daylight, and the scene will 

" Yon have iio further doubt. Captain, of the nature of 
the animal?" 

" No, sir; it is evidently a gigantic narwhal, and an 
electric one." 

" Perhaps," added I, ''one can only approach it with a 
gymnotus or a torpedo." 

"Undoubtedly," rei:)lied the captain, "if it possesses 
such dreadful power, it is the most terrible animal that 
ever was created. That is why, sir, I must be on my 

The crew were on their feet all night. No one thought 
of sleep. The Abraham Lincoln,. not being able to strug- 
gle with such velocity, had modei'ated its pace, and sailed 
at half speed. For its part, the narwhal, imitating the 
frigate, let the waves rock it at will, and seemed decided 
not to leave the scene of the struggle. Toward mid- 
night, hov/ever, it disappeare 1, or, to use a more appro- 
priate term, it " died out " like a large glow-worm. Had 
it fled? One could only fear, not hope it. But at seven 
minutes to one o'clock in the morning a deafening whist- 
ling was heard, like that produced by a body of water 
rushing with great violence. 

rhe captain, Ned Land, and I were then on the poop, 
eagerly peering through the profound darkness. 

" Ned Land," asked the commander, "you have often 
heard the roaring of whales?" 

" Often, sir; but never such whales the sight of which 
brought me in two thousand dollars. If I can only 
approach within four harpoon lengths of iti" 


*' But to approach it," said the commander, " I ought 
to put a whaler at your disposal?" 

** Certainly, sir." 

** That will be trifling with the lives of my men." 

"And mine too," simply said the harpooner. 

Toward two o'clock in the morning, the burning light 
reappeared, not less intense, about five miles to windward 
of the Abraham Lincoln. Notwithstanding the distance, 
and the noise of the wind and sea, one heard distinctly 
the loud strokes of the animal's tail, and even its panting 
breath. It seemed that, at the moment that the enor- 
mous narwhal had come to take breath at the surface of the 
water, the air was ingulfed in its lungs, like the steam in 
the vast cylinders of a machine of two-thousand horse- 

"Hum!" thought I, "a whale with the strength of a 
cavalry regiment would be a pretty whale!" 

We were on the qui vive till daylight, and prepared for 
the combat. The fishing implements were laid along the 
hammock nettings. The second lieutenant loaded the 
blunderbusses, which could throw harpoons to the dis- 
tance of a mile, and long duck-guns, with explosive 
bullets, which inflicted mortal wounds even to the most 
terrible animals. Ned Land contented himself with 
sharpening his harpoon — a terrible weapon in his hands. 

At six o'clock, day began to break; and with the first 
glimmer of light, the electric light of the narwhal dis- 
appeared. At seven o'clock the day was sufficiently ad- 
vanced, but a very thick sea-fog obscured our view, and 
the best spy-glasses could not pierce it. That caused dis- 
appointment and anger. 

I climbed the mizzen-mast. Some officers were already 
perched on the mast-heads. At eight o'clock the fog lay 
heavily on the waves, and its thick scrolls rose little by 
little. The horizon grew wider and clearer at the same 
time. Suddenly, just as on the day before, Ned Land's 
voice was heard. 

" The thing itself on the port quarter!" cried the har- 

Every eye was turned toward the point indicated. There, 
a mile and a half from the frigate, a long blackish body 
emerged a yard above the waves. Its tail, violently 
agitated, produced a considerable eddy. Never did a 


caudal appendage beat the sea with such violence. An 
immense track, of a dazzling whiteness, marked the pas- 
sage of the animal, and described a long curve. 

The frigate approached the cetacean. I examined it 

Tiie reports of the Shannon and of the Helvetia had 
rather exaggerated its size, and I estimated its length at 
only two hundred and fifty feet. As to its dimensions, I 
could only conjecture them to be admirably proportioned. 
While I watched thisphenomenon, two jets of steam and 
water were ejected from its vents, and rose to the height 
of 130 feet; thus I ascertained its way of breathing. I 
concluded definitely that it belonged to the vertebrate 
branch, class mammalia. 

The crew waited impatiently for their chief's ^orders. 
The latter, after having observed the animal attentively, 
called the engineer. The engineer ran to him. 

"Sir," said the commander, "you have steam up?" 

" Yes, sir," answered the engineer. 

'* Well, make up your fires and put on all steam." 

Three hurrahs greeted this order. The time for the 
struggle had arrived. Some moments after, the two fun- 
nels of the frigate vomited torrents of black smoke, and 
the bridge quaked under the trembling of the boilers. 

The Abraham Lincoln, propelled by her powerful screw, 
went straight at the animal. The latter allowed it to 
come within a half a cable's length; then, as if disdaining 
to dive, it took a little turn, and stopped a short dis- 
tance off. 

This pursuit lasted nearly three-quarters of an hour, 
without the frigate gaining two yards on the cetacean. It 
was quite evident that atlhat rate we should never come 
up with it. 

"Well, Mr. Land," asked the captain, "do you advise 
me to put the boats out to sea?" 

"No, sir," replied Ned Land; "because we shall not 
take Hiat beast easily." 

" What shall we do then?" 

"Put on more steam if you can, sir. With your leave, 
1 mean to post myself under the bowsprit, and if we get 
within harpooning distance, I shall throw my harpoon." 

" Go, Ned," said the captain. " Engineer, put on more 


Ned Land went to his post. The fires were increased, 
the screw revolved forty-three times a minute, and the 
steam poured out of the valves. We heaved the log, and 
calculated that the Abraham Lincoln was going at the rate 
of 18 1-2 miles an hour. 

But the accursed animal swam too at the rate of 18 1-3 
miles an hour. 

For a whole hour the frigate kept up this pace, without 
gaining six feet. It was humiliating for one of the swiftest 
sailers in the Amei^can navy. A stubborn anger seized the 
crew; the sailors abused the monster, who, as before, dis- 
dained to answer them; the captain no longer contented 
htmself with twisting his beard — he gnawed it. 

The engineer was again called. 

''You have turned full steam on?" 

"Yes, sir,'* replied the engineer. 

The speed of the Abraham Lincoln increased. Its masts 
trembled down to their stepping-holes, and the clouds of 
smoke could hardly find way out of the narrow funnels. 

They heaved the log a second time. 

" Well?" asked the captain of the man at the wheel. 

"Nineteen miles and three tenths, sir." 

*' Clap on more steam." 

The engineer obeyed. The manometer showed ten de- 
grees. But the cetacean grew warm itself, no doubt; for, 
without straining itself, it made 19 1-3 miles. 

What a pursuit! No, I cannot describe the emotion 
that vibrated through me. Ned Land kept his post, har- 
poon in hand. Severai times the animal let us gain upon 
it. "We shall catch it! we shall catch it!" cried the 
Canadian. But just as he was going to strike, the ceta- 
cean stole away with a rapidity that could not be estimated 
at less than thirty miles an hour, and even during our 
maximum of speed it bullied the frigate, going round and 
round it. A cry of fury broke from every one! 

At noon we were no further advanced than at eight 
o'clock in the morning. 

The captain then decided to take more direct means. 

"Ah!" said he, "that animal goes quicker than the 
Abraham Lincoln. Very well! we will see whether it will 
escap* these conical bullets. Send your men to the fore- 
castle, sir." 

The forecastle gun was immediately loaded and slewed 

82 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE 8EA8. 

round. But the shot passed some feet above the catacean, 
which was a half mile ofE. 

''Anotiier more to the right," cried the commander, 
**and five dollars to whoever will hit that infernal beast." 

An old gunner, with a gray beard — that I can see now — 
with steady eye and grave face, went up to the gun and 
took a long aim. A loud report was heard, with which 
were mingled the cheers of the crew. 

The bullet did its work; it hit the animal, but not 
fatally, and, sliding off the rounded surface, was lost in 
two miles depth of sea. 

The chase began again, and the captain, leaning toward 
me, said: — " I will pursue that beast till mv frigate bursts 

"Yes," answered I; *' and you will be quite right to 
do it." 

I wished the beast would exhaust itself, and not be in- 
sensible to fatigue, like a steam-engine! But it was of 
no use. Hours passed without its showing any signs of 

However, it must be said in praise of the Abraham 
Lincoln, that she struggled on indefatigably. I cannot 
reckon the distance she made under three hundred miles 
during this unlucky day, November the 6th. But night 
came on, and overshadowed the rough ocean. 

Now I thought our expedition was at an end, and that 
we should never again see the extraordinary animal. I 
was mistaken. At ten minutes to eleven in the evening, 
the electric light reappeared three miles to windward of 
the frigate, as pure, as intense as during the preceding 

The narwhal seemed motionless; perhaps, tired with its 
day's work, it slept, letting itself float with the undulation 
of the waves. Now was the cliance of which the captain 
resolved to take advantage. 

He gave his orders. The Abraham Lincoln kept up 
half-steam, and advanced cautiously, so as not to awake 
its adversary. It is no rare thing to meet in the middle of 
the ocean whales so sound asleep that they can be success- 
fully attacked, and Ned Land had harpooned more than 
one during its sleep. The Canadian went to take his place 
again under the bowsprit. 

The frigate approached noiselessly, stopped at two 


cables' length from the animal, and following its track. 
No one breathed; a deep silence reigned on the bridge. 
We were not a hundred feet from the burning focus, the 
light of which increased and dazzled our eyes. 

At this moment, leaning on the forecastle bulwark, I 
saw below me Ned Land grappling the martingale in one 
hand, brandishing his terrible harpoon in the other, 
scarcely twenty feet from the motionless animal. Sud- 
denly his arm straightened, and the harpoon was thrown; 
I heard the sonorous stroke of the weapon, which seemed 
to have struck a hard body. The electric light went out 
suddenly, and two enormous water-spouts broke over the 
bridge of the frigate, rushing like a torrent from stem to 
stern, overthrowing men, and breaking the lashing of the 
spars. A fearful shock followed, and, thrown over the 
rail without having time to stop myself, I fell into the sea. 



This unexpected fall so stunned me tha5 I have no 
•lear recollection of my sensation at the time. I was at 
first drawn down to a depth of about twenty feet. I am 
a good swimmer (though without pretending to rival 
Byron or Edgar Poe, who were masters of the art), and 
in that plunge I did not lose my presence of mind. Two 
vigorous strokes brought me to the surface of the water. 
My first care was to look for the frigate. Had the crew 
seen me disappear? Had the Abraham Lincoln veered 
round? Would the captain put out a boat? Might I hope 
to be saved? 

The darkness was intense. I caught a glimpse of a 
black mass disappearing in the east, its beacon lights 
dying out in the distance. It was the frigate. I was 

"Help, help!" I shouted, swimming toward the Abra- 
ham Lincoln in desperation. 

My clothes encumbered me; they seemed glued to mj 
body, and paralyzed my movements. 

I was sinking! I was suffocating. 



This was my last cry. My mouth filled with water; 1 
struggled against being drawn down the abyss. Suddenly 
my clothes were seized by a strong hand, and I felt my- 
self quickly drawn up to the surface of the sea; and I 
heard, yes, I heard these words pronounced in my ear: 

" If master would be so good as to lean on my shoul- 
der, master would swim with much greater ease." 

I seized with one hand my faithful Conseil's arm. 

" Is it you?" said I — '*you?" 

** Myself," answered Conseil; ''and waiting master'* 

" That shock threw you as well as me into the sea?" 

*' No; but being in my master's service, I followed him.'* 

The worthy fellow thought that was but natural. 

*' And the frigate?" I asked. 

**The frigate," replied Conseil, turning on his back; 
" I think that master had better not count too much on 

" You think so?" 

*' I say that, at the time I threw myself into the sea I 
heard the men at the wheel say, * The screw and the rud- 
der are broken.' " 


" Yes, broken by the monster's teeth. It is the only 
injury the Abraham Lincoln sustained. But it is a bad 
lookout for us — she no longer answers her helm." 

" Then we are lost!" 

** Perhaps so," calmly answered Conseil. " However, 
we have still several hours before us, and one can do a 
good deal in some hours." 

Conseil's imperturbable coolness set me up again. I 
Bwam more vigorously; but, cramped by my clothes, which 
stuck to me like a leaden weight, I felt great difficulty in 
bearing up. Conseil saw this. 

"Will master let me make a slit?" said he; and slip- 
ping an open knife under my clothes, he ripped them up 
from top to bottom very rapi'dly. Then he cleverly slip- 
ped them off me, while I swam for both of us. 

Then I did the same for Conseil, and we continued to 
swim near to each other. 

Nevertheless, our situation was no less terrible. Per- 
haps our disappearance had not been noticed; and if it 
had been, the frigate could not tack, being without iti 


helm. Conseil argued on this supposition, and laid his 
plans accordingly. This phlegmatic boy was perfectly 
self-possessed. We then decided that, as our only chance 
of safety was in being picked up by the Abraham Lincoln's 
boats, we ought to manage so as to wait for them as long 
as possible. I resolved then to husband our strength, so 
that both should not be exhausted at the same time; and 
this is how we managed: while one of us lay on his back, 
quite still, with arms crossed, and legs stretched out, the 
other would swim and push him on in front. This 
towing business did not last more than ten minutes each; 
and relieving each other thus, we could swim on for some 
hours, perhaps till daybreak. Poor chance! but hope is 
so firmly rooted in tiie heart of man! Moreover, there 
were two of us. Indeed I declare (though it may seem 
improbable) if I sought to destroy all hope, if I wished to 
despair, I could not. 

The collision of the frigate with the cetacean had oc- 
curred about eleven o'clock the evening before. I reck- 
oned then we should have eight hours to swim before sun- 
rise — an operation quite practicable if we relieved each 
other. The sea, very calm, was in our favor. Sometimes 
I tried to pierce the intense darkness that was only dis- 
pelled by the phosphorescence caused by our movements. 
I watched the luminous waves that broke over my hand, 
whose mirror-like surface was spotted with silvery rings. 
One might have said that we were in a bath of quick- 

Near one o'clock in the morning, I was seized with 
dreadful fatigue. My limbs stiffened under the strain of 
violent cramp. Conseil was obliged to keep me up, and 
our preservation devolved on him alone. I heard the poor 
boy pant; his breathing came short and hurried. I found 
that he could not keep up much longer. 

"Leave me! leave me!" I said to him. 

" Leave my master? never!" replied he. " I would drown 

Just, then the moon appeared through th-9 fringes of a 
thick cloud that the wind was driving to the east. The 
surface of the sea glittered with its rays. This kindly 
light reanimated us. My head got better again. Hooked 
at all the points of the horizon. I saw the frigate! Sh«i 


was five miles from us, and looked like a dark mass, hardly 
discernible. But no boats! 

I would have cried out. But what ^ood would it have 
been at such a distance! My swollen lips could utter no 
sounds. Conseil could articulate some words, and I heard 
him repeat at intervals, "Help! help!" 

Our movements were suspended for an instant; we 
listened. It might be only a singing in the ear, but 
it seemed to me as if a cry answered the cry from Con- 

"Did you hear?" I murmured. 

"Yes! yes!" 

And Conseil gave one more despairing call. 

This time there was no mistake! A human voice re- 
sponded to ours! Was it the voice of another unfortunate 
creature abandoned in the middle of the ocean, some other 
victim of the shock sustained by the vessel? Or rather 
was it a boat from the frigate, that was hailing us in the 

Conseil made a last effort, and leaning on my shoulder, 
while 1 struck out in a despairing effort, he raised himself 
half out of the water, then fell back exhausted. 

" What did you see?" 

"I saw," murmured he — "I saw — but do not talk — 
reserve all your strength." 

What had he seen? Then, I know not why, the thought 
of the monster came into my head for the first time! But 
that voice? The time is past for Jomahs to take refuge in 
whales' bellies! However, Conseil was towing me again. 
He raised his head sometimes, looked before us, and ut- 
tered a cry of recognition, which was responded to by a 
voice that came nearer and nearer. I scarcely heard it. 
My strength was exliausted; my fingers stiffened; my 
hand afforded me support no longer; my mouth, convul- 
sively opening, filled with salt water. Cold crept over 
me. I r.iised my head for the last time, then I sank. 

At this moment a hard body struck me. I clung to it: 
then I felt that I was being drawn up, that I was brought 
to the surface of the water, that my chest collapsed: 1 
fainted. » 

It is certain that I soon came to, thanks to the vigorous 
rubbings I received. I half opened my eyes. 

" Conseil!" I murmured. 


**Does master call me?" asked Conseil. 

Just then, by the waning light of the moon, which wag 
sinking down to the horizon. I saw a face which was not 
Conseil's, and which I immediately recognized. 

"N-ed!" I cried. 

"The same, sir, who is seeking his prize!" replied the 

" Were you thrown into the sea by the shock of the 

" Yes, Professor; but more fortunate than you, I was 
able to find a footing almost directly upon a floating 

"An island?" 

" Or, more correctly speaking, on our gigantic nar- 

"Explain yourself, Ned!" 

" Only 1 soon found out why my harpoon had not en- 
tered its skin and was blunted." 

"Why, Ned, why?" 

" Because, Professor, that beast is made of sheet-iron?" 

The Canadian's last words produced a sudden revolu- 
tion in my brain. I wriggled myself quickly to the top of 
the being, or object, half out of the water, which served 
us for a refuge. I kicked it. It was evidently a hard, 
impenetrable body, and not the substance that forms the 
bodies of the great marine mammalia. But this hard 
body might be a bony carapace, like that of the antedilu- 
vian animals; and I should be free to class this monster 
among amphibious reptiles, such as tortoises or alligators. 

Well, no! the blackish back that supported me was 
smooth, polished, without scales. The blow produced a 
metallic sound; and incredible though it may be, it seemed, 
I might say, as if it was of riveted plates. 

There was no doubt about it! this monster, this natural 
phenomenon that had puzzled the learned world, and 
overthrown and misled the imagination of seamen of both 
hemispheres, was, it must be owned, a stllJ more astonish- 
ing phenomenon, inasmuch as it was a simply human 

We had no time to lose, however. We were lying upon 
the back of a sort of submarine boat, which appeared (as 
far as I could judge) like a huge fish of steel. Ned Land's 


mind was made up on this point. Conseil and I could 
only agree with him. 

Just then a bubbling began at the back of this strange 
thing (which was evidently propelled by a screw), and it 
began to move. We had only just time to seize hold of 
the upper part, which rose about seven feet out of the 
water, and happily its speed was not great. 

" As long as it sails horizontally," muttered Ned Land, 
" I do not mind, but if it takes a fancy to dive, I would 
not give two straws for my life." 

The Canadian might have said still less. It became 
really necessary to communicate with the beings, whatever 
they were, shut up inside the machine. I searched all 
over the outside for an aperture, a panel, or a man-hole, 
to use a technical expression; but the lines of the iron 
rivets, solidly driven into the joints of the iron plates, 
were clear and uniform. Besides, the moon disappeared 
then, and left us in total darkness. 

At last this long night passed. My indistinct remem- 
brance prevents my describing all the impressions it made. 
I can only recall one circumstance. During some lulls of 
the wind and sea, I fancied I heard several times vague 
sounds, a sort of fugitive harmony produced by distant 
words of command. What was then the mystery of this 
submarine craft of which the whole world vainly sought 
an explanation? What kind of beings existed in this 
strange boat? What mechanical agent caused its prodigious 
speed ? 

Daybreak appeared. The morning mists surrounded 
us, but they soon cleared off. I was about to examine the 
hull, which formed on deck a kind of horizontal platform, 
when I felt it gradually sinking. 

*' 0, confound it!" cried Ned Land, kicking the resound- 
ing plate, ''open, you inhospitable rascals!" 

Happily the sinking movement ceased. Suddenly a 
noise, like iron works violently pushed aside, came from 
the interior of the boat. One iron plate was moved, a 
man appeared, uttered an odd cry, and disappeared im- 

Some moments after, eight strong men with masked faces 
appeared noiselessly, and drew us down into their formid- 
able machine. 




This forcible abduction, so rougbly carried out, was ac- 
complished with the rapidity of lightning. I shivered all 
over. Whom had we to deal with? No doubt some new 
sort of pirates, who explored the sea in their own way. 

Hardly had the narrow panel closed upon me, when I 
was enveloped in darkness. My eyes, dazzled with the 
outer light, could distinguish nothing, I felt my naked 
feet cling to the rungs of an iron ladder. Ned Land and 
Conseil, firmly seized, followed me. At the bottom of 
the ladder, a door opened, and shut after us immediately 
with a bang. 

We were alone. Where, I could not say, hardly imagine. 

All was black, and such a dense black that, after some 
minutes, my eyes had not been able to discern even the 
faintest glimmer. 

Meanwhile, Ned Land, furious at these proceedings, 
gave free vent to his indignation. 

'•' Confound it!" cried he, " here are people who come 
up to the Scotch for hospitality. They only just miss 
being cannibals. I should not be surprised at it, but I de- 
clare that they shall not eat me without my protesting." 

" Calm yourself, friend Ned, calm yourself," replied 
Conseil, quietly. " Do not cry out before you are hurt. 
We are not quite dione for yet." 

"Not quite," sharply replied the Canadian, "but 
pretty near, at all events. Things look black. Happily 
my bowie-knife I have still, and I can always see well 
enough to use it. The first of these pirates who lays a 
hand on me " 

" Do not excite yourself, Ned," I said to the harpooner, 
" and do not compromise us by useless violence. Who 
knows that they will not listen to us? Let us rather try 
to find out where we are." 

I groped about. In five steps I came to an iron wall, 
made of plates bolted together. Then, turning back, I 
struck against a wooden table, near which were ranged 
several stools. The boards of this prison were concealed 


under a thick mat of phormium, whicli deadened tlie noise 
of the feet. The bare walls revealed no trace of window 
or door. Conseil, going round the reverse way, met me, 
and we went back to the middle of the cabin, which 
measured about twenty feet by ten. As to its heigiit, 
Ned Land, in spite of his own great height, could not 
measure it. 

Half an hour had already passed without our situation 
being bettered, when the dense darkness suddenly gave 
way to extreme light. Our prison was suddenly lighted; 
that is to say, it became filled with a luminous matter so 
strong that I could not bear it at first. In its whiteness and 
intensity I recognized that electric lignt which played 
round the submarine boat like a magnificent phenomenon 
of phosphorence. After shutting my eyes involuntarily, 
I opened them, and saw that this luminous agent came 
from a half-globe, unpolished, placed in the roof of the 

** At last one can see," cried Ned Land, who, knife in 
hand, stood on the defensive. 

" Yes," said I; **but we are still in the dark about our- 

" Let master have patience," said the imperturbable 

The sudden lighting of the cabin enabled us to examine 
it minutely. It only contained a table and five stools. The 
invisible door might be hermetically sealed. No noise was 
heard. All seemed dead in the interior of this boat. Did 
it move, did it float on the surface of the ocean, or did it 
dive into its depths? I could not guess. 

A noise of bolts was now heard, the door opened, and two 
men appeared. 

One was short, very muscular, broad-shouldered, with 
robust limbs, strong head, an abundance of black hair, 
tliick mustache, a quick penetrating look, and the vivacity 
which characterizes. the population of Southern France. 

The second stranger merits a more detailed description. 
A disciple of Gratiolet or Engel would have read his face 
like an open book. I made out his prevailing qualities 
directly: self-confidence — because his head was well set on 
his shoulders, and his black eyes looked around with cold 
assurance; calmness — for his skin, rather pale, showed his 
coolness of blood; energy — evinced by the rapid contrac- 


tion of his lofty brows; and courage — because his deep 
breathing denoted great power of lungs. 

Whether this person was thirty-five or fifty years of age, 
I could not say. He was tall, had a large forehead, straight 
nose, a clearly cut mouth, beautiful teeth, with fine taper 
hands, indicative of a high nervous temperament. This 
man was certainly the most admirable specimen I had ever 
met. One particular feature was his eyes, rather far from 
each other, and which could take in nearly a quarter of 
the horizon at once. 

This faculty — (I verified it later) — -gave him a range of 
vision far superior to Ned Land's. When this stranger 
fixed upon an object his eyebrows met, his large eyelids 
closed around so as to contract the range of his vision, and 
he looked as if he magnified the objects lessened by dis- 
tance, as if he pierced' those sheets of water so opaque to 
our eyes, and as if he read the very depths of the seas. 

The two strangers, with caps made from the fur of the 
sea otter and shod with sea boots of seals' skin, were 
dressed in clothes of a particular texture, which allowed 
free movement of the limbs. The taller of the two, evi- 
dently the chief on board, examined us with great atten- 
tion, without saying a word; then turning to his compan- 
ion, talked with him in an unknown tongue. It was a 
sonorous, harmonious, and flexible dialect, the vowels 
seeming to admit of very varied accentuation. 

The other replied by a shake of the head, and added 
two or three perfectly incomprehensible words. Then he 
seemed to question me by a look. 

I replied in good French that I did not know his lan- 
guage, but he seemed not to understand me, and my sit- 
uation became more embarrassing. 

" If master were to tell our story," said Conseil, "per- 
haps these gentlemen may understand some words." 

I began to tell our adventures, articulating each syllable 
clearly, and without omitting one single detail. I an- 
nounced our names and rank, introducing in person Pro- 
fessor Aronnax, his servant Conseil, and Master Ned Land, 
the harpoon er. 

The man with the soft calm eyes listened to me quietly, 
even politely, and with extreme attention; but nothing in 
his countenance indicated that he understood my story. 
When I finished he said not a word. 


There remained one resource, to speak English. Per- 
haps they would know this almost universal language. 
I knew it, as well as the German language — well enough 
to read it fluently, but not to speak it correctly. But, 
anyhow, we must make ourselves understood, 

"Go on in your turn," I said to the harpooner; ** speak 
your best Anglo-Saxon, and try to do better than I." 

Ned did not beg off, and recommenced our story. 

To his great disgust, the harpooner did not seem to 
have made himself more intelligible than I had. Our 
visitors did not stir. They evidently understood neither 
the language of Arago nor of Faraday. 

Very much embarrassed, after having vainly exhausted 
our philological resources, I knew not what part to take, 
when Conseil said: 

" Tf master will permit me, I will relate it in German." 

But in spite of the elegant turns and good accent of 
the narrator, the German language had no success. At 
last, non-plussed, I tried to remember my first lessons, 
and to narrate our adventures in Latin, but with no better 
success. This last attempt being of no avail, the two 
strangers exchanged some words in their unknown lan- 
guage, and retired. The door shut. 

** It is an infamous shame," cried Ned Land, who broke 
out for the twentieth time; "we speak to those rogues in 
French, English, German, and Latin, and not one of them 
has the politeness to answer!" 

"Calm yourself," I said to the impetuous Ned, "anger 
will do no good." 

" But do you see, Professor," replied our irascible com- 
panion, " that we shall absolutely die of hunger in this 
iron cage?" 

"Bah," said Conseil, philosophically; "we can hold 
out some time yet." 

" My friends," I said, " we must not despair. AVe 
have been worse off than this. Do me the favor to wait 
a little before forming an opinion upon the commander 
and crew of this boat." 

" My opinion is formed," replied Ned Land, sharply, 
" They are rascals." 

'"'Good! and from what country?" 

*' From the land of rogues!" 

"My dear Ned, that country is not clearly indicated on 


the map of the world; but I admit that the nationality of 
the two strangers is hard to determine. Neither English, 
French, nor German, that is quite certain. However, I 
am inclined to think that the commander and his compa- 
nion were born in low latitudes. There is southern blood 
in them. But I cannot decide by their appearance 
whether they are Spaniards, Turks, Arabians, or Indians. 
As to their language, it is quite incomprehensible." 

" There is the disadvantage of not knowing all lan- 
guages," said Conseil, " or the disadvantage of not having 
one universal language." 

As he said these words, the door opened. A steward 
entered. He brought us clothes, coats, and trousers, made 
of a stuff I did not know. I hastened to dress myself, and 
my companions followed my example. During that time, 
the steward — dumb, perhaps deaf — had arranged the table 
and laid three plates. 

" This is something like," said Conseil. 

** Bah!" said the rancorous harpooner, *' what do you 
suppose they eat here? Tortoise liver, filleted^ shark, 
and beefsteaks from sea-dogs." 

*' We shall see," said Conseil. 

The dishes, of bell-metal, were placed on the table, and 
we took our places. Undoubtedly we had to do with civ- 
ilized people, and had it not been for the electric light 
which flooded us, I could have fancied I was in the dining- 
room of the Adelphi Hotel at Liverpool, or at the Grand 
Hotel in Paris. I must say, however, that there was 
neither bread nor wine. The water was fresh and clear, 
but it was water, and did not suit Ned Land's taste. 
Amongst the dishes which were brought to us, I recog- 
nized several fish delicately dressed; but of some, although 
excellent, I could give no opinion, neither could I tell to 
what kingdom they belonged, whether animal or vegeta- 
ble. As to the dinner service, it was elegant, and in 
perfect taste. Each utensil, spoon, fork, knife, plate, had a 
letter engraved on it, with a motto above it, of which this 
is an exact fac-simile: 


The letter N. was no doubt the initial of the name of 
the enigmatical person who commanded at the bottom of 
the seas. 


Ned and Conseil did not reflect much. They devoured 
the food, and I did likewise. I was, besides, reassured as 
to our fate; and it seemed evident that our hosts would 
not let us die of want. 

However, everything has an end, every thing passes away, 
even the hunger of people who have not eaten for fifteen 
hours. Our appetites satisfied, we felt overcome with 

** Faith! I shall sleep well," said Conseil. 

" So shall I," replied Ned Land. 

My two companions stretched themselves on the cabin 
carpet, and were soon sound asleep. For my own part, 
too many thoughts crowded my brain, too many insoluble 
questions pressed upon me, too many fancies kept my eyes 
half open. Where were we? What strange power carried 
us on? I felt — or rather I fancied I felt — the machine 
sinking down to the lowest beds of the sea. Dreadful 
nightmares beset me; I saw in these mysterious asylums a 
world of unknown animals, amongst which this submarine 
boat seemed to be of the same kind, living, moving, and 
formidable as they. Then my brain grew calmer, my im- 
agination wandered into vague unconsciousness, and I soon 
fell into a deep sleep. 


NED land's tempers. 

How long we slept, I do not know; but our sleep must 
have lasted long, for it rested us completely from our fa- 
tigues. I woke first. My companions had not moved, 
and were still stretched in their corner. 

Hardly roused from my somewhat hard couch, I felt my 
brain freed, my mind clear, I then began an attentive 
examination of our cell. Nothing was changed inside. 
The prison was still a prison; the prisoners, prisoners. 
However, the steward, during our sleep, had cleared the 
table. I breathed with diflBculty. The heavy air seemed 
to oppress my lungs. Although the cell was large, we had 
evidently consumed a great part of the oxygen that it con- 
tained. Indeed, each man consumes, in one hour, the 
oxygen contained in more than 176 pints of air, and this 
air, charged (as then) with a nearly equal quantity of car- 
bonio acid, becomes unbreathable. 


It became necessary to renew the atmosphere of our 
prison, and no doubt the whole in the submarine boat. 
That gave rise to a question in my mind. How would the 
commander of this floating dwelling-place proceed? Would 
he obtain air by chemical means, in getting by heat the 
oxygen contained in chlorate of potassa, and in absorbing 
carbonic acid by caustic potash? Or, a more convenient, 
economical, and consequently more probable alternative, 
would he be satisfied to rise and take breath at the surface 
of the water, like a cetacean, and so renew for twenty-four 
hours the atmospheric provision? 

In fact, I was already obliged to increase my respirations 
to eke out of this cell the little oxygen it contained, when 
suddenly I was refreshed by a current of pure air, and 
perfumed with saline emanations. It was an invigorating 
sea breeze, charged with iodine. I opened my mouth 
wide, and my lungs saturated themselves with fresh par- 

At the same time I felt the boat rolling. The iron-plated 
monster had evidently just risen to the surface of the 
ocean to breathe, after the fashion of whales. I found out 
from that the mode of ventilating the boat. 

When I had inhaled this air freely, I sought the con- 
duit-pipe, which conveyed to us the beneficial whifE, and 
I was not long in finding it. Above the door was a venti- 
lator, througii which volumes of fresh air renewed the im- 
poverished atmosphere of the cell. 

I was making my observations, when Ned and Conseil 
awoke almost at the same time, under the influence of this 
reviving air. They rubbed tlieir eyes, stretched them- 
selves, and were on their feet in an instant. 

" Did master sleep well?" asked Conseil, with his usual 

"Very well, my brave boy. And you, Mr. Land?" 

" Soundly, Professor. But I don't know if I am right 
or not; there seems to be a sea breeze!" 

A seaman could not be mistaken, and I told the Can- 
adian all that had passed during his sleep. 

" Good!" said he; *' that accounts for those roarings we 
heard when the supposed narwhal sighted the Abraham 

"Quite so, Master Land; it was taking breath." 


" Only, Mr. Arronnax, I have no idea what o'clock it 
is, unless it is dinner-time." 

" Dinner-time! my good fellow? Say rather breakfast- 
time, for we certainly have begun another day." 

" So," said Conseil, " we have slept twenty-four hours?" 

" That is my opinion." 

"I will not contradict you," replied Ned Land. *' But 
dinner or breakfast, the steward will be welcome, which- 
ever he brings." 

" Master Land, we must conform to the rules on board, 
and I suppose our appetites are in advance of the dinner 

"That is just like you, friend Conseil," said Ned, im- 
patiently. " You are never out of temper, always calm; 
you would return thanks before grace, and die of hunger 
rather than complain!" 

Time was getting on, and we were fea,rfully hungry; 
and this time the steward did not appear. It was rather 
too long to leave us, if they really had good intentions to- 
ward us. Ned Land, tormented by the cravings of hunger, 
got still more angry; and, notwithstanding his promise, I 
dreaded an explosion when he found himself with one of 
the crew. 

For two hours more Ned Land's temper increased; he 
cried, he shouted, but in vain. The walls were deaf. 
There was no sound to be heard in the boat; all was still as 
death. It did not move, for I should have felt the trem- 
bling motion of the hull under the influence of the screw. 
Plunged in the depths of the waters, it belonged no longer 
to earth — this silence was dreadful. 

I felt terrified, Conseil was calm, Ned Land roared. 

Just then a noise was heard outside. Steps sounded on 
the metal flags. The locks were turned, the door opened, 
and tlie steward appeared. 

Before I could rush forward to stop him, the Canadian 
had thrown him down, and held him by the throat. The 
steward was choking under the grip of his powerful hand. 

Conseil was already trying to unclasp the harpooner's 
hand from his half-sufFocated victim, and I was going to 
fly to the rescue, when suddenly I was nailed to the spot 
by bearing these words in French: 

*'Be qniet. Master Land: and you, Professor, will you 
be so good as to listen to me?" 




It was the commander of the vessel, who thus spoke. 

At these words, Ned Land rose suddenly. The stew- 
ard, nearly strangled, tottered out on a sign from his 
master; but such was the power of the commander on 
board that not a gesture betrayed the resentment which 
this man must have felt toward the Canadian. Conseil, 
interested in spite of himself, I stupefied, awaited in si- 
lence the result of this scene. 

The commander, leaning against the corner of the table, 
with his arms folded, scanned us with profound attention. 
Did he hesitate to speak? Did he regret the words 
which he had just spoken in French? One might almost 
think so. 

After some moments of silence, which not one of 'Hs 
dreamed of breaking, " Gentlemen," said he, in a calm 
and penetrating voice, " I speak French, English^ Ger- 
man, and Latin equally well. I could, therefore, have 
answered you at our first interview, but I wished to know 
you first, then to reflect. The story told by each one, 
entirely agreeing in the main points, convinced me of your 
identity. I know now that chance has brought before me 
M. Pierre Aronnax, Professor of Natural Ristory at the 
Museum of Paris, intrusted with a scientific mission abroad; 
Conseil, his servant, and Ned Land, of Canadian origin, 
harpooner on board the frigate Abraham Lincoln of the 
navy of the United States of America." 

I bowed assent. It was not a question that the com- 
mander put to me. Therefore there was no answer to be 
made. This man expressed himself with perfect ease, 
without any accent. His sentences were well turned, 
his words clear, and his fluency of speech Kmarkable. 
Yet I did not recognize in him a fellow-countryman. 

He continued the conversation in these terms: 

" You have doubtless thought, sir, that I have delayed 
long in paying you this second visit. The reason is that, 
your identity recognized, I wighed to weigh maturely what 
part to act toward you. I have hesitated much. Most 


annoying circumstances have brought you into the presencje 
of a man who has broken all the ties of humanity. You 
have come to trouble my existence." 

"Unintentionally!" said I. 

"Unintentionally?" replied the stranger, raising his 
voice a little; " was it unintentionally that the Abraham 
Lincoln pursued me all over the seas? Was it uninten- 
tionally that you took passage in this frigate? Was it 
unintentionally that your cannon-balls rebounded off the 
plating of my vessel? Was it unintentionally that Mr. 
Ned Land struck me with his harpoon?" 

I detected a restrained irritation in these words. But 
to these recriminations I had a very natural answer to 
make, and I made it. 

"Sir," said I, " no doubt you are ignorant of the dis- 
cussions which have taken place concerning you in Amer- 
ica and Europe. You do not know that divers accidents, 
caused by collisions with your submarine machine, have 
excited public feeling in the two continents. I omit the 
hypotheses without number by which it was sought to 
explain the inexplicable phenomenon of which you alone 
possess the secret. But you must understand that, in 
pursuing you over the high seas of the Pacific, the Abraham 
Lincoln believed itself to be chasing some powerful sea- 
monster, of which it was necessary to rid the ocean at any 

A half-smile curled the lips of the commander: then, in 
a calmer tone: 

" M. Aronnax," he replied, " dare you affirm that your 
frigate would not as soon have pursued and cannonaded a 
submarine boat as a monster?" 

This question embarrassed me, for certainly Captain 
Farragut might not have hesitated. He might have 
thought it his duty to destroy a contrivance of this kind, 
as he would a gigantic narwhal. 

" You understand then, sir," continued the stranger, 
" that I have the right to treat you as enemies?" 

I answered nothing, purposely. For what good would 
it be to discuss such a proposition, when force could 
destroy the best arguments? 

*' I have hesitated for some time," continued the com- 
mander; " nothing obliged me to show you hospitality. 
If I choose to separate myself from you, I should have no 


interest in seeing you again; I could place you upon the 
deck of this vessel which has served you as a refuge. I 
could sink beneath the waters, and forget that you had 
ever existed. "Would not that be my right?" 

*' It might be the right of the savage, " I answered, 
" but not that of a civilized man." 

" Professor," replied the commander, quickly, " I am 
not what you call a civilized man! I have done with 
society entirely, for reasons which I alone have the right 
of appreciating. I do not therefoi'e obey its laws, and I 
desire you never to allude to them before me again!" 

This was said plainly. A flash of anger and disdain 
kindled in the eyes of the Unknown, and I had a glimpse 
of a terrible past in the life of this man. Not only iiad he 
put himself beyond the pale of human laws, but he had 
made himself independent of them, free in the strictest 
acceptation of the word, quite beyond their reach! Who 
then would dare to pursue him at the bottom of the sea, 
when, on its surface, he defied all attempts made against 
him? What vessel could resist the shook of his submarine 
monitor? What cuirass, however thick, could withstand 
tlie blows of his spur? No man could demand from him 
an account of his action; God, if he believed in one — his 
conscience, if he had one — were the sole judges to whom he 
was answerable. 

These reflections crossed my mind rapidly, whilst the 
strange personage was silent, absorbed, and as if wrapped 
up in himself. I regarded him with fear mingled with 
interest, as, doubtless, (Edipus regarded the Sphinx. 

After rather a long silence, the commander resumed the 

" I have hesitated," said he, " but I have thought that 
my interest might be reconciled with that pity to which 
every human being has a right. You will remain on board 
my vessel, since fate has cast you there. You will be free; 
and in exchange for this liberty I shall only impose one 
single condition. Your word of honor to submit to it will 

'* Speak, sir," I answered. '' I suppose this condition 
is one which a man of honor may accept?" 

" Yes, sir; it is this. It is possible that certain events, 
unforeseen, may oblige me to consign you to your cabins 
for some hours or some days, as the case may be. As I 


desire never to use violence, I expecb from you, more than 
all the others, a passive obedience. In thus acting, I take 
all the responsibility; I acquit you entirely, for I make it 
an impossibility for you to see what ought not to be seen. 
Do you accept this condition?" 

Then things took place on board which, to say the least, 
were singular, and which ought not to be seen by people 
who were not placed beyond the pale of social laws. 
Amongst tlie surprises which the future was preparing for 
me, tiiis might not be the least. 

"We accept," I answered; "only I will ask your 
permission, sir, to address one question to you — one 

"Speak, sir." 

"You said that we should be free on board." 

" Entirely." 

" I ask you, then, what you mean b. this liberty?" 

"Just the liberty to go, to come, to see, to observe evefi 
all that passes here — save under rare circumstances — the 
liberty, in short, which we enjoy ourselves, my companions 
and L" 

It was evident that we did not understand one another. 

'^Pardon me, sir," I resumed, "but this liberty is only 
what every prisoner has of pacing his prison. It cannot 
sufl&ce us." 

"It must suflBce you, however." 

" What! we must renounce forever seeing our country, 
our friends, our relations again?" 

"Yes, sir. But to renounce that unendurable worldly 
yoke which men believe to be liberty is not, perhaps, so 
painful as you think." 

" Well," exclaimed Ned Land, " never will I give my 
word of honor not to try to escape." 

"I did not ask you for your word of honor, Master 
Land," answered the commander, coldly. 

" Sir," I replied, beginning, to get angry in spite of 
myself, "you abuse your situation toward us; it is 

" No, sir, it is clemency. You are my prisoners of war. 
I keep you, when I could, by a word, plunge you into th# 
depths of the ocean. You attacked me. You came to 
surprise a secret which no man in the world mucl pene- 
trate — the secret of my whole existence. And you think 


that I am going to send you back to that world which 
must know me no more? Never! In retaining you it is 
not you whom I guard — it is myself." 

These words indicated a resolution taken on the part 
of the commander, against which no arguments would 

" So, sir," I rejoined, " you give us simply the choice 
between life and death?" 

" Simply." 

" My friends," said I, *'to a question thus put, there is 
Dothing to answer. But no word of honor binds us to the 
master of this vessel." 

"None, sir," answered the Unknown. 

Then, in a gentler tone, he continued: 

*' Now, permit me to finish what I have to say to you. 
I know you, M. Aronnax. You and your companions 
will not, perhaps, have so much to complain of in the 
chance which has bound you to my fate. You will find 
amongst the books wlwch are my favorite study the work 
which you have published on 'the depths of the sea.' I 
have often read it. You have carried your work as far as 
terrestrial science permitted you. But you do not know 
all — you have not seen all. Let me tell you then, Pro- 
fessor, that you will not regret the time passed on board 
my vessel. You are going to visit the land of marvels." 

These words of the commander had a great effect upon 
me. I cannot deny it. My weak point was touched; and 
I forgot, for a moment, that the contemplation of these 
sublime subjects was not worth the loss of liberty. Be- 
sides, I trusted to the future to decide this grave question. 
So I contented myself with saying: 

" By what name ought I to address you?" 

" Sir," replied the commander, " I am nothing to yon 
but Captain Nemo; and you and your companions are 
nothing to me but the passengers of the Nautilus." 

Captain Nemo called. A steward appeared. The cap- 
tain gave him his orders in that strange language which I 
did not understand. Then, turning toward the Canadian 
and Conseil: 

" A repast awaits you in your cabin," said he. " Be so 
good as to follow this man. 

"And now, M. Aronnax, our breakfast is ready. Per- 
mit me to lead the way." 


"I am at your service, Captain." 

I followed Captain Nemo; and as soon as I had passed 
through the door, I found myself in a kind of passage 
lighted by electricity, similar to the waist of a ship. After 
we had proceeded a dozen yards, a second door opened 
before me. 

I then entered a dining-room, decorated and furnished 
in severe taste. High oaken sideboards, inlaid with ebony, 
stood at the two extremities of the room, and upon their 
shelves glittered china, porcelain, and glass of inestimable 
value. The plate on the table sparkled in the rays which 
the luminous ceiling shed around, while the light was 
tempered and softened by exquisite paintings. 

In the center of the room was a table richly laid out. 
Captain Nemo indicated the place I was to occupy. 

The breakfast consisted of a certain number of dishes, 
the contents of which were furnished by the sea alone; 
and I was ignorant of the nature and mo3e of preparation 
of some of them. I acknowledged that they were good, 
but they had a peculiar flavor, which I easily became ac- 
customed to. These different aliments appeared to me to 
be rich in phosphorus, and I thought they must have a 
marine origin. 

Captain Nemo looked at me. I asked him no questions, 
but he guessed my thoughts, and answered of his own ac- 
cord the questions which I was burning to address to him. 

*' The greater part of these dishes are unknown to you," 
he said to me. " However, you may partake of them 
without fear. They are wholesome and nourishing. For 
a long time I have renounced the food of the earth, and I 
am never ill now. My crew, who are healthy, are fed on 
the same food." 

'' So," said I, *^all these eatables are the produce of the 

'* Yes, Professor, the sea supplies all my wants. Some- 
times I cast my nets in tow, and I draw them in ready to 
break. Sometimes I hunt in the midst of this element, 
which appears to be inaccessible to man, and quarry the 
game which dwells in my submarine forests. My flocks, 
like those of Neptune's old shepherds, graze fearlessly in 
the immense prairies of the ocean. I have a vast property 
there, which I cultivate myself, and which is always sown 
by the hand of the Creator of all things." 


" I can understand perfectly, sir, that your nets furnish 
excellent fish for your table; I can understand also that 
you hunt aquatic game in your submarine forests; but I 
cannot understand at all how a particle of meat, no mat- 
ter how small, can figure in your bill of fare." 

" This, which you believe to be meat, Professor, is 
nothing else than fillet of turtle. Here are also some dol- 
phins' livers, which you take to be ragout of pork. My 
cook is a clever fellow, who excels in dressing these various 
products of the ocean. Taste all these dishes. Here is a 
preserve of holothuria, which a Malay would declare to be 
unrivaled in the world; here is a cream, of which the milk 
has been furnished by the cetacea, and the sugar by the 
great fucus of the North Sea; and lastly, permit me to 
offer you some preserve of anemones, which is equal to 
that of the most delicious fruits." 

I tasted, more from curiosity than as a connoisseur, 
whilst Captain Nemo enchanted me with his extraor- 
dinary stories. 

"You like the sea. Captain?" 

"Yes, I love it. The sea is everything. It covers 
seven-tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure 
and Ixealthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never 
lonely, for he feels Jife stirring on all sides. The sea is 
only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful 
existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the 
' Living Infinite,' as one of your poets has said. In fact, 
Professor, Nature manifests herself in it by her three 
kingdoms, mineral, vegetable, and animal. The sea is 
the vast reservoir of Nature. The globe began with sea, 
so to speak; and who knows if it will not end with it? 
In it is supreme tranquillity. The sea does not belong to 
despots. Upon its surface men can still exercise unjnst 
laws, fight, tear one another to pieces, and be carried away 
with terrestrial horrors. But at thirty feet below its 
level, their reign ceases, their influence is quenched, and 
their power disappears. Ah! sir, live — live in the bosom 
of the waters! There only is independence. There I 
recognize no masters! There I am free!" 

Captain Nemo suddenly became silent in the midst of 
this enthusiasm, by which he was quite carried away. For 
a few moments he paced up and down, much agitated. 


Then he became more calm, regained his accustomed cold- 
ness of expression, and turning toward me: 

" Now, Professor," said he, " if you wish to go over the 
Nautilus, I am at your service." 

Captain Nemo rose. I followed him. A double door, 
contrived at the back of the dining-room, opened, and I 
entered a room equal in dimensions to that which I had 
just quitted. 

It was a library. High pieces of furniture, of black 
violet ebony inlaid with brass, supported upon their wide 
shelves a great number of books uniformly bound. They 
followed the shape of the room, terminating at the lower 
part in huge divans, covered with brown leather, which 
were curved, to afford the greatest comfort. Light mov- 
able desks, made to slide in and out at will, allowed one to 
rest one's book while reading. In the center stood an 
immense table, covered with pamplilets, amongst which 
were some newspapers, already of old date. The electric 
light flooded everything; it was shed from four unpolished 
globes half sunk in the volutes of the ceiling. I looked 
with real admiration at this room, so ingeniously fitted up, 
and I could scarcely believe my eyes. 

" Captain Nemo," said I to my host, who had just 
thrown himself on one of the divans, "this is a library 
Avhich would do honor to more than one <5"f the continental 
palaces, and I am absolutely astounded when I consider 
that it can follow you to the bottom of the seas." 

*' Where could one find greater solitude or silence. 
Professor?" replied Captain Nemo. " Did your study in 
the Musuem afford you such perfect quiet?" 
- " No, sir; and I must confess that it is a very poor one 
after yours. You must have six or seven thousand volumes 

'^ Twelve thousand, M. Aronnax. These are the onlf 
ties which bind me to the earth. But I had done with tho 
world on the day when my Nautilus plunged for the first 
time beneath the waters. That day I bought my last 
volumes, my last pamphlets, my last papers, and front 
that time I wish to think that men no longer think or 
write. These books. Professor, are at your service besides, 
and you can make use of them freely." 

I thanked Captain Nemo, and went up to the shelves of 
the library. Works on science, morals and literature 


abounded in every language; but I did not see one single 
work on political economy; that subject appeared to be 
strictly proscribed. Strange to say, these books were irreg- 
ularly arranged, in whatever language they were written; 
and this medley proved that the captain of the Nautilus 
must have read indiscriminately the books which he took 
up by chance. 

" Sir," said I to the captain, "1 thank you for having 
placed this library at my disposal. It contains treasures 
of science, and I shall profit by them.*' 

" This room is not only a library," said Captain Nemo, 
'' it is also a smoking-room." 

"A smoking-room!" I cried. ** Then one may smoke 
on board?" 


" Then, sir, I am forced to believe that you have kept 
up a communication with Havana." 

" Not any," answered the captain. "Accept this cigar, 
M. Aronnax; and though it does not come from Havana, 
you will be pleased with it, if you are a connoisseur." 

I took the cigar which was offered me; its shape re- 
called the London ones, but it seemed to be made of leaves 
of gold. I lighted it at a little brazier, which was sup- 
ported upon an elegant bronze stem, and drew the first 
whiffs with the delight of a lover of smoking who has not 
smoked for two days. 

"It is excellent," said I, "but it is not tobacco." 

"No!" answered the captain, "this tobacco comes 
neither from Havana nor from the East. It is a kind of 
sea-weed, rich in nicotine, with which the sea ;provides 
me, but somewhat sparingly." 

At that moment Captain Nemo opened a door which 
stood opposite to that by which I had entered the library, 
and I passed into an immense drawing-room, splendidly 

It was a vast four- sided room, thirty feet long, eighteen 
wide, and fifteen high. A luminous ceiling, decorated 
with light arabesques, shed a soft clear light over all the 
marvels accumulated in this museum. For it was in fact 
a museum, in which an intelligent and prodigal hand had 
gathered all the treasures of nature and art, with artistic 
confusion which distinguishes a painter's studio. Thirty 
first-rate pictures, uniformly framed, separated by bright 


drapery, ornamented the walls, wliieh were hung with 
tapestry of severe design. I saw works of great value, the 
greater part of which I had admired in tlie special collec- 
tions of Europe, and in the exhibitions of paintings. The 
several schools of the old masters were represented by a 
Madonna of Raphael, a Virgin of Leonardo da Vinci, a 
nymph of Oorreggio, a woman of Titian, an Adoration of 
Veronese, an Assumption of Murillo, a portrait of Hol- 
bein, a monk of Velasquez, a martyr of Eibeira, a fair of 
Rubens, two Flemish landscapes of Teniers, three little 
''genre" pictures of Gerard Dow, Metsu and Paul Potter, 
two specimens of Gericault and Prudhon, and some sea- 
pieces of Backhuyser and Vernet. Amongst the works 
of modern painters were pictures with the signatures of 
Delacroix, Ingress, Decamp, Troyon, Meissonnier, Dau- 
bigny, etc.; and some admirable statues in marble and 
bronze, after the finest antique models, stood upon pedes- 
tals in the corners of this magnificent museum. Amaze- 
ment, as the captain of the Nautilus had predicted, had 
already begun to take possession of me. 

" Professor," said this strange man, "you must excuse 
the unceremonious way in which I receive you, and the 
disorder of this room." 

" Sir," I answered, " without seeking to know who you 
are, I recognize in you an artist." 

"An amateur, nothing more, sir. Formerly I loved to 
collect these beautiful works created by the hand of man. 
I sought them greedily and ferreted them out indefati- 
gably, and I have been able to bring together some objects 
of great value. These are my last souvenirs of that world 
which is dead to me. In my eyes, your modern artists 
are already old; they have two or three thousand years of 
existence; I confound them in my own mind. Masters 
have no age." 

"And these musicians?" said I, pointing out some 
works of Weber, Rossini, Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, 
Meyerbeer, Herold, Wagner, Auber, Gounod, and a num- 
ber of others scattered over a large model piano organ 
which occupied one of the panels of the drawing-room. 

" These musicians," replied Captain Nemo, " are the con- 
temporaries of Orpheus, for in the memory of the dead all 
chronological differences are effaced: and lam dead. Pro- 


feasor; as much dead as those of your friends who are sleep- 
ing six feet under the earth!" 

Captain Nemo was silent, and seemed lost in profound 
revery. I contemplated him with deep interest, analyzing 
in silence the strange expression of his countenance. Lean- 
ing on his elbow against an angle of a costly mosaic table, 
he no longer saw me — he had forgotten my presence, 

I did not disturb this revery, and continued my ob- 
servation of the curiosities which enriched this drawing- 

Under elegant glass cases, fixed by copper rivets, were 
classed and labeled the most precious productions of the 
sea which had ever been presented to the eye of a natu- 
ralist. My delight as a professor may be conceived. 

The division containing the zoophytes presented the 
most curious specimens of the two groups of polypi and 
ecliinoderms. In the first group, the tnbipores, were 
gorgonias arranged like a fan, soft sponges of Syria, ises of 
the Moluccas, pennatules, an admirable virgularia of the 
Norwegian seas, variegated umbellulairge, alcyonariae, a 
whole series of madrepores, which my master Milne- Ed- 
wards has so cleverly classified, amongst which I remarked 
some wonderful flabellinae, oculinae of the island of Bour- 
bon, the " Neptune's car" of the Antilles, superb varieties 
of corals, in short, every species of those curious polypi of 
which entire islands are formed, which will one day be- 
come continents. Of the echinoderms, remarkable for 
their coating of spines, asteri, sea-stars, pantacrinae, coma- 
tules, asterophons, echini, holothuri, etc., represented in- 
dividually a complete collection of this group. 

A somewhat nervous conchologist would certainly 
have fainted before other more numerous cases, in which 
were classified the specimens of molluscs. It was a col- 
lection of inestimable value, which time fails me to de- 
scribe minutely. Amongst these specimens, I will quote 
from memory only the elegant royal hammer-fish of the 
Indian Ocean, whose regular white spots stood out brightly 
on a red and brown ground, an imperial spondyle, bright 
colored, bristling with spines, a rare specimen in the Euro- 
pean museums (I estimated its value at not less than 
£1,000); a common hammer-fish of the seas of New Hol- 
land, which is only procured with difficulty; exotic buc- 
cardia of Senegal; fragile white bivalve shells, which % 


breath might shatter like a soap-bubble; several varieties 
of the aspirgillum of Java, a kind of calcareous tube, edged 
with leafy folds, and much debated by amateurs; a whole 
series of trochi, some a greenish yellow, found in the Amer- 
ican seas, others a reddish-brown, natives of Australian 
waters; others from the Gulf of Mexico, remarkable for 
their imbricated shell; stellari found in th> Southern Seas; 
and last, the rarest of all, the magnificent spur of New 
Zealand; and every description of delicate and fragile shells 
to which science has given appropriate names. 

Apart, in separate compartments, were spread out chap- 
lets of pearls of the greatest beauty, which reflected the 
electric light in little sparks of fire; pink pearls, torn 
from the pinna-marina of the Red Sea; green pearls of 
the haliotyde iris; yellow, blue, and black pearls, the 
curious productions of the divers molluscs of every ocean, 
and certain mussels of the water-courses of the North; 
lastly, several specimens of inestimable value which had 
been gathered from the rarest pintadines. Some of these 
pearls were larger than a pigeon's egg, and were worth as 
much and more than that which the traveler Tavernier 
sold to the Shah of Persia for three millions, and sur- 
passed the one in the possession of the Imam of Muscat, 
which I had believed to be unrivaled in the world. 

Therefore, to estimate the value of this collection was 
simply impossible. Captain Nemo must have expended 
millions in the acquirement of these various specimens, 
and I was thinking what source he could hav edrawn from, 
to have been able thus to gratify his fancy for collecting, 
when I was interrupted by these words: 

**You are examining my shells. Professor? Unques- 
tionably they must be interesting to a naturalist; but for 
me they have a far greater charm, for I have collected 
them all with my own hands, and there is not a sea on the 
face of the globe which has escaped my researches." 

" I can understand, Captain, the delight of wandering 
about in the midst of such riches. You are one of those 
who have collected their treasures themselves. No museum 
in Europe possesses such a collection of the produce of the 
ocean. But if I exhaust all my admiration upon it, I 
shall have none leftrfor the vessel which carries it. T do 
not wish to pry into your secrets; but I must confess that 
this Nautilus, with the motive power which is confined in 


it, the contriyances which enable it to be worked, the 
powerful agent which propels it, all excite my curiosity 
to the highest pitdi. I see suspended on the walls of this 
roorn-instruments of whose use I am ignorant." 

"You will find these same instruments in my own 
room. Professor, where I shall have much pleasure in ex- 
plaining their use to you. But first come and inspect the 
cabin which is set apart for your own use. You must see 
how you will be accommodated on board the Nautilus." 

I followed Captain Nemo, who, by one of the doors 
opening from each panel of the drawing-room, regained 
the waist. He conducted me toward the bow, and there 
I found, not a cabin, but an elegant room, with a bed, 
dressing-table, and several other pieces of furniture. 

I could only thank my host. 

"Your room adjoins mine," said he, opening a door, 
" and mine opens into the drawing-room that we have 
just quitted." 

I entered the captain's room; it had a severe, almost a 
monkish, aspect. A small iron bedstead, a table, some 
articles for the toilet; the whole lighted by a skylight. No 
comforts, the strictest necessaries only. 

Captain Nemo pointed to a seat. 

" Be so good as to sit down," he said. I seated myself, 
and he began thus: 



"Sir," said Captain Nemo, showing me the instru- 
ments hanging on the walls of his room, " here are the 
contrivances required for the navigation of the Nautilus. 
Here, as in the drawjng-room, I have them always under 
my eyes, and they indicate my position and exact direction 
in the middle of the ocean. Some are known to you, such 
as the thermometer, which gives the internal temperature 
of the Nautilus; the barometer, which indicates the weight 
ot tne air and foretells the changes of weather; the hy- 
drometer, which marks the dryness of the atmosphere; the 
storm-glass, the contents of which, by decomposing, an- 
nounce the approach of tempests; the compass, which 
guides my course; the sextant, which showis the latitude 


by the altitude of the sun; chronometers, by which I cal- 
culate the longitude; and glasses for day and night, which 
I use to examine the points of the horizon when the 
Nautilus rises to the surface of the waves." 

"Tiiese are the usual nautical instruments," I replied, 
**and I know the use of them. But these others, no 
doubt, answer to the particular requirements of the Nau- 
tilus. Tiiis dial with the movable needle, is amonometer, 
is it not?" 

" It is actually a monometer, but by communication with 
the water, whose external pressure it indicates, it gives 
our depth at the same time." 

" And these other instruments, the use of which I can- 
not guess?" 

" Here, Professor, I ought to give you some explanations. 
Will you be kind enough to listen to me?" 

He was silent for a few moments, tlieu he said: 

"There is a powerful agent, -obedient, rapid, easy, 
which conforms to every use, and reigns supreme on board 
my vessel. Everything is done by means of it. It lights 
it, warms it, and is the soul of my mechanical apparatus. 
This agent is electricity." 

'' Electricity?" I cried, in surprise. 

*' Yes, sir." 

"Nevertheless, Captain, you possess'an extreme rapidity 
of movement, which does not agree well with the power of 
electricity. Until now its dynamic force has remained 
under restraint, and has only been able to produce a small 
amount of power." 

" Professor," said Captain Nemo, " my electricity is 
not everybody's. You know what sea-water is composed 
of. In a thousand grammes are found 96 1-2 per cent, of 
water, and about 2 2-3 per cent, of chloride of sodium; 
then in a smaller quantfity, chlorides of magnesium and of 
potassium, bromide of magnesium, sulphate of magnesia, 
sulphate and carbonate of lime. You see, then, that 
chloride of sodium forms a large part of it. So it is this 
sodium that I extract from sea-water, and of which I 
compose my ingredients. I owe all to the ocean; it 
produces electricity, anNd electricity gives heat, light, mo- 
tion, and, in a word, life to the Nautilus." 

" But not the air your breathe?" 

" 0, 1 could manufacture the air necessary for my con- 


sumption, but it is useless, because I go up to the surface 
of the water when I ])lease. • However, if electricity does 
not furnish me with air to breathe, it works at least the 
powerful pumps tliat are stored in 'spacious reservoirs, 
and whicli enable me to prolong at need, and as long as I 
will, my stay in the depths of the sea. It gives a uniform 
and unintermittent light, which the sun does not. Now 
look at this clock; it is electrical, and goes with a regular- 
ity that defies the best chronometers. I have divided it 
into twenty-four hours, like the Italian clocks, because 
for me there is neither niglif nor day, sun nor moon, but 
only that factitious light that I take with me to the 
bottom of the sea. Look! just now, it is ten o'clock in the 


"Another application of electricity. This dial hanging 
in front of us indicates the speed of the Nautilus. An 
electric thread puts it in communication with the screw, 
and the needle indicates the real speed. Look! now we 
are spinning along with a uniform speed of fifteen miles 
an hour." 

*' It is marvelous! and I see, Captain, you were right to 
make use of this agent that takes the place of wind, water, 
and steam." 

" We have not finished, M. Aronnax," said Captain 
Nemo, rising; " if you will follow me, we will examine 
the stern of the Nautilus." 

Eeally, I knew already the anterior part of 4,his sub- 
marine boat, of which this is the exact division, starting 
from the ship's head: the dining-room, five yards long, 
separated from the library by a water-tight partition; 
the library, five yards long; the large drawing-room, 
ten yards long, separated fi-om the captain's room by 
a second water-tight partition; the said room, five yards 
in length; mine, two and a half yards; and lastly, a reser- 
voir of air, seven and a half yards, that extended to the bows. 
Total length thirty-five yards, or one hundred and five 
feet. The partitions had doors that were shut hermetic- 
ally by means of india-rubber instruments, and they in- 
sured the safety of the Nautilus in case of a leak. 

I followed Captain Nemo through the waist, and arrived. 
at the center of the boat. There was a sort of well that 
opened between two partitions. An iron ladder, fastened 


with an iron hook to the partition," led to the upper end. 
I asked the captain what the ladder was used for. 

"It leads to the small boat," he said. 

"What! have you a boat?" I exclaimed, in surprise. 

"Of course; an excellent vessel, light and insubmer- 
sible, that serves either as a fishing or as a pleasure boat." 

" Bu*" then, when you wish to embark, you are obliged 
to come to the surface of the water?" 

"Not at all. This boat is attached to the upper part 
of the hull of the Nautilus, and occupies a cavity made 
for it. It is decked, quite water-tight, and held together 
by solid bolts. This ladder leads to a man-hole made in 
the hull of the Nautilus, that corresponds with a similar 
hole made in the side of the boat. By this double opening 
I get into the small vessel. They shut the one belonging 
to the Nautilus, I shut the other by means of screw pres- 
sure. I undo the bolts, and the little boat goes up to the 
surface of the sea with prodigious rapidity. I then open 
the panel of the bridge, carefully shut till then; I mast it, 
hoist my sail, take my oars, and I'm off.** 

" But how do you get back on board?" 

" I do not come back, M. Aronnax; the Nautilus comes 
to me." 

" By your orders?" 

" By my orders. An electric thread connects us. I 
telegraph to it, and that is enough." 

"Eeally," I said, astonished at these marvels, "nothing 
can be more simple." 

After Iiaving passed by the cage of the staircase that 
led to the platform, I saw a cabin six feet long, in which 
Conseil and Ned Land, enchanted with their repast, were 
devouring it with avidity. Then a door opened into a 
kitchen nine feet long, situated between the large store- 
rooms. There electricity, better 'than gas itself, did all 
the cooking. The streams under the furnaces gave out 
to the sponges of platina a heat which was regularly kept 
up and distributed. They also heated a distilling ap- 
paratus, which, by evaporation, furnished excellent drink- 
able water. Near this kitchen was a bath-room comfort- 
ably furnished, with hot and cold water taps. 

Next to the kitchen was the berth-room of the vessel, 
sixteen feet long. But the door was shut, and I could 
not see the management of it, which might have given 


me an idea of the number of men employed on board the 

At the bottom was a fourth partition, that separated 
this office from the engine- I'oom. A door opened, and I 
found myself in the compartment where Captain Nemo — 
certainly an engineer of a very high order — had ananged 
his locomotive machinery. This engine-room, clearly 
lighted, did not measure less than sixty-five feet in length. 
It was divided into two parts; the first contained the 
materials for producing electricity, and the second tlie 
machinery that connected it with the screw. I exammed 
it with great interest, in order to understand the machinery 
of the Nautilus. 

"You see," said the captain, "I use Bunsen's contri- 
vances, not Ruhmkorff's. Those would not have been 
powerful enough. Bunsen's are fewer in number, but 
strong and large, which experience proves to be the best. 
The electricity produced passes forward, where it works, 
by electro-magnets of great size, on a system of levers and 
cog-wheels that transmit the movement to the axle of the 
screw. This one, the diameter of which is nineteen feet, 
and the thread twenty-three feet, performs about a hundred 
and twenty revolutions in a second." 

^' And you get then?" 

" A speed of fifty miles an hour." 

" I have seen the Nautilus maneuver before the Abra- 
ham Lincoln, and I have my own ideas as to its speed. But 
this is not enough. We must see where we go. We must 
be able to direct it to the right, to the left, above, below. 
How do you get to the great depths, where you find an 
increasing resistance, which is rated by hundreds of at- 
mospheres? How do you return to the surface of the 
ocean? And how do you maintain yourselves in the re- 
quisite medium? Am I asking too much?" 

" Not at all. Professor," replied the captain, with some 
hesitation; "since you may never leave this submarine 
boat. Come into the saloon, it is our usual study, and 
there you will learn all you want to know about the 




A MOMENT after we were seated on a divan in the saloon 
smoking. The captain showed me a sketch that gave the 
phm, section, and elevation of the Nautilus. Then he be- 
gan his description in these words: 

"Here, M. Aronnax, are the several dimensions of the 
boat you are in. It is an elongated cylinder, with conical 
ends. It is very like a cigar in sliape, a shape already 
adopted in London in several constructions of the same 
sort. The length of this cylinder, from stem to stern, is 
exactly 232 feet, and its maximum breadth is twenty-six 
feet. It is not built quite like your long-voyage steamers, 
but its lines are suflBciently long, and its curves prolonged 
enough to allow the water to slide off easily, and oppose 
no obstacle to its passage. These two dimensions enable 
you to obtain by a simple calculation the surface and cubic 
contents of the Nautilus. Its area measures 6,032 feet; 
and its contents about 1,500 cubic yards: that is to say, 
yrhen completely immersed, it displaces 50,000 feet of 
water, or weighs 1,500 tons. 

■'When I made the plans for this submarine vessel, I 
meant that nine-tenths should be submerged; consequent- 
ly, it ought only to displace nine-tenths of its bulk; that 
is to say, only to weigh that number of tons. I ought not, 
therefore, to have exceeded that weight, constructing it on 
the aforesaid dimensions. 

"The Nautilus is composed of two hulls, one inside, the 
other outside, joined by. T-shaped irons, which render it 
very strong. Indeed, owing to this cellular arrangement 
it resists like a block, as if it were solid. Its sides cannot 
yield; it coheres spontaneously, and not by the closeness 
of its rivets; and the homogeneity of its construction, due 
to the perfect union of the materials, enables it to defy the 
roughest seas. 

** These two hulls are composed of steel plates, whose 
density is from .7 to .8 that of water. The first is not 
less than two inches and a half thick, and weighs 394 
tons. The second envelope, the keel, twenty inches high 


and ten thick, weighs alone sixty-two tons. The engine, 
the ballast, the several accessories and apparatus append- 
ages, the partitions and bulkheads, weigh 961,62 tons. 
Do you follow all this?" 

"I do." 

" Then, when the Nautilus is afloat under these cir- 
cumstances, one tenth is out of the water. Now, if I 
have made reservoirs of a size equal to this tenth, or 
capable of holding 150 tons, and if I fill them with water, 
the boat, weighing then 1,500 tons, will be completely 
immersed. , That would happen. Professor. These reser- 
voirs are in the lower part of the Nautilus. I turn on 
taps and they fill, and the vessel sinks that had just been 
level with the surface." 

*' Well, Captain, but now we come to the real difficulty. 
I can understand your rising to the surface; but diving 
below the surface, does not your submarine contrivance 
encounter a pressure, and consequently undergo an upward 
thrust of one atmosphere for every thirty feet of water, 
just about fifteen pounds per square inch?" 

"Just so, sir." 

" Then unless you quite fill the Nautilus, I do not see 
how you can draw it down to these depths," 

" Professor, you must not confound statics with dynam- 
ics, or you will be exposed to grave errors. There ii 
rery little labor spent in attaining the lower regions of the 
ocean, for all bodies have a tendency to sink. When I 
wanted to find out the necessary increase of weight 
required to sink the Nautilus, I had only to calculate the 
reduction of volume that sea water acquires according to 
the depth." - 

" That is evident." 

"Now, if water is not absolutely incompressible, it is 
at least capable of very slight compression. Indeed, after 
the most recent calculations this reduction is only .000436 
of an atmosphere for each thirty feet of depth. If we 
want to sink 3,000 feet, I should keep account of the 
reduction of bulk under a pressure equal to that of a 
column of water of a thousand feet. The calculation is 
easily verified. Now, I have supplementary reservoirs 
capable of holding a hundred tons. Therefore I can sink 
to a considerable depth. When I wish to rise to the level 
of the sea, I only let off the water, and empty all the 

66 20,000" LEAGUES tTlTDEK THE IXA8, 

reservoirs if I want the Nautilus to emerge from the tenth 
part of her total capacity." 

I liad nothing to object to these reasonings. 

*^I admit your calculations, Captain," 1 replied. "I 
should be wrong to dispute them since daily experience 
confirms them; but I foresee a real difficulty in the way." 

'' What, sir?" 

** When you are about 1,000 feet deep, the walls of the 
Nautilus bear a pressure of 100 atmospheres. If, then, 
just now you were to empty the supplementary reservoirs, 
to lighten the vessel, and to go up to the surface, the 
pumps must overcome the pressure of 100 atmosplieres, 
which is 1,500 pounds per square inch. From that a 
power " 

"That electricity alone can give," said the Captain, 
hastily. " I repeat, sir, that the dynamic power of my 
engines is almost infinite. The pumps of the Nautilus 
have an enormous power, as you must have observed when 
their jets of water burst like a torrent upon the Abraham 
Lincoln. Besides, I use subsidiary reservoirs only to at- 
tain a mean depth of 750 to 1,000 fatiioms, and that witli 
a view of managing my machines. Also, when I have a 
mind to visit the depths of the ocean five or six miles 
below the surface, I make use of slower but not less in- 
fallible means." 

'* What are they. Captain?" 

"That involves my telling you how the Nautilus is 

" I am impatient to learn." 

"To steer this boat to starboard or port, to turn, in a 
word, following a horizontal plan, I use an ordinary rud- 
der fixed on the back of the stern-post, and with one 
wheel and some tackle to steer by. But I can also make 
the Nautilus rise and sink, and sink and rise, by a ver- 
tical movement by means of two inclined planes fastened 
to its sides, opposite the center of flotation, planes that 
move in every direction, and that are worked by powerful 
levers from the interior. If the planes are kept parallel 
with the boat, it moves horizontally. If slanted, the 
Nautilus, according to this inclination, and under the in- 
fluence of the screw, either sinks diagonally or rises dia- 
gonally as it suits me. And even if I wish to rise more 
ouicklv to the surface, I ship the screw, and the pressure 


of the water causes tlie Nautilus to rise vertically like & 
balloon filled with hydrogen." 

''^ Bravo, Captain! But how can the steersman follow 
the route in the middle of the waters?" 

" The steersman is placed in a glazed box, that is raised 
above the hull of the Nautilus, and furnished with lenses." 

*' Are these lenses capable of resisting such pressure?" 

" Perfectly. Glass, which breaks at a blow, is, never- 
theless, capable of offering considerable resistance. Dur- 
ing some experipients of fishing by electric light in 1864 
in the Northern Seas, we saw plates less than a third of 
an inch thick resist a pressure of sixteen atmospheres. 
Now, the glass that I use is not less than thirty times 

''Granted. But, after all, in order to see, the light 
must exceed the darkness, and in the midst of the dark- 
ness of the water, how can you see?" 

"Behind the steersman's cage is placed a powerful 
electric reflector, the rays from which light up the sea for 
half a mile in front." 

*'Ah! bravo, bravo, Captain! Now can I account for 
this phosphorescence in the supposed narwhal that puz- 
zled us so. I now ask you if the boarding of the Nautilus 
and of the Scotia, that has made such a noise, has been 
the result of a chance rencontre?" 

"Quite accidental, sir. I was sailing only one fathom 
below the surface of the water when the shock came. It 
had no bad result." 

" None, sir. But now, about your rencontre with the 
Abraham Lincoln?" 

" Professor, I am sorry for one of the best vessels in the 
American navy; but they attacked me, and I was bound 
to defend myself. I contented myself, however, with 
})utting the frigate liors de conihat : she will not have any 
difficulty in getting repaired at the next port." 

"Ah, Commander! your Nautilus is certainly a mar- 
velous boat." 

" Yes, Professor; and I love it as if it were part of my- 
self. If danger threatens one of your vessels on the 
ocean, the first impression is the feeling of an abyss above 
and below. On the Nautilus men's hearts never fail them. 
No defects to be afraid of, for the double shell is as firm 
as iron; no rigging to attend to; no sails for the wind to 


carry away; no boilers to burst; no fire to fear, for the 
vessel is made of iron, not of wood; no coal to run short, 
for electricity is the only mechanical agent; no collision 
to fear, for it alone lives in deep water; no tempest to 
brave, for when it dives below the water it reaches abso- 
lute tranquillity. There, sir! that is the perfection of 
vessels! And if it is true that the engineer has more 
confidence in the vessel than the builder, and the builder 
than the captain himself, you understand the trust I 
repose in my Nautilus; for I am at once captain, builder, 
and engineer." 

" But how could you construct this wonderful Nautilus 
in secret?" 

" Each separate portion, M. Aronnax, was brought from 
different parts of the globe. The keel was forged at Creu- 
sot, the shaft of the screw at Penn & Co.'s, JLondon; the 
iron plates of the hull at Laird's, of Liverpool; the screw 
itself at Scott's, at Glasgow. The reservoirs were made 
by Gail & Co., at Paris; the engine by Krupp, in Prussia, 
its beak in Motala's workshop, in Sweden; its mathe- 
matical instruments by Hart Brothers, of New York, etc.; 
and each of these people had my orders under different 

"But these parts had to be put ti?gether and arranged?" 

" Professor, I had set up my workshops upon a desert 
island in the ocean. There my workmen, that is to say, 
the brave men that I instructed and educated, and myself 
have put together our Nautilus. Then, when the work 
was finished, fire destroyed all trace of our proceedings 
on this island, that I could have jumped over if I had liked." 

"Then the cost of this vessel is great?" 

" M. Aronnax, an iron vessel costs £45 per ton. Now 
the Nautilus weighed 1,500. It came therefore to £67,500, 
and £80,000 more for fitting it up, and about £200,000 with 
the works of art and the collections it contains." 

**One last question, Gaptain Nemo." 

** Ask it, Professor." 

" You are rich?" 

" Immensely rich, sir, and I could, without missing it, 
pay the national debt of France." 

I stared at the singular person who spoke thus. Was 
he playing upon my credulity? The future would decide 




Thb portion of the terrestrial globe which is covered by 
water is estimated at upward of eighty millions of acres. 
Tins fluid mass comprises two billions two hundred and 
fifty millions of cubic miles, forming a spherical body of 
a diameter of sixty leagues, the weight of which would be 
three quintillions of tons. To comprehend the meaning 
of these figures, it is necessary to observe that a quintillion 
is to a billion as a billion is to unity; in other words, there 
are as many billions in a quintillion as there are units in a 
billion. This mass of fluid is equal to about the quantity 
of water which would be discharged by all the rivers of 
the earth in forty thousand years. 

During the geological epochs, the igneous period suc- 
ceeded to the aqueous. The ocean originally prevailed 
everywhere. Then by degrees, in the silurian period, the 
tops of the mountains began to appear, the islands emerged, 
then disappeared in partial deluges, reappeared, became 
settled, formed continents, till at length the earth became 
geographically arranged as we see in the present day. The 
solid had wrested from the liquid thirty-seven million six 
hundred and fifty-seven square miles, equal to twelve bill- 
ions nine hundred and sixty millions of acres. 

The shape of continents allows us to divide the waters 
into five great portions: the Arctic or Frozen Ocean, the 
Antarctic or Frozen Ocean, the Indian, the Atlantic, and 
the Pacific Oceans. 

The Pacific Ocean extends fi-om north to south between 
the two polar circles, and from east to west between Asia 
and America, over an extent of 145 degrees of longitude. 
It is the quietest of seas; its currents are broad and slow, 
it has medium tides and abundant rain. Such was the 
ocean that my fate destined me first to travel over under 
these strange conditions. 

" Sir," said Captain Nemo, " we will, if you please, 
take our bearings and fix the starting-point of this voyage. 
It is a quarter to twelve; I will go up again to the sur- 


The captain pressed an electric clock three times. The 
pumps began to drive the water from the tanks; the needle 
of the manometer marked by a different pressure the ascent 
of the Nautilus, then it stopped. 

" We have arrived," said the captain. 

I went to the central staircase which opened on to the 
platform, clambered up the iron steps, and found myself 
on the upper part of the Nautilus. 

The platform was only three feet out of water. The 
front and back of the Nautilus was of that spindle-shape 
which caused it justly to be compared to a cigar. I no- 
ticed that its iron plates, slightly overlaying each other, 
resembled the shell which clothes the bodies of our large 
terrestrial reptiles. It explained to me how natural it was, 
in spite of all glasses, that this boat should have been taken 
for a marine animal. 

Toward the middle of the platform the long-boat, half 
buried in the hull of the vessel, formed a slight excres- 
cence. Fore and aft rose two cages of medium height 
with inclined sides, and partly closed by thick lenticular 
glasses; one destined for the steersman who directed the 
Nautilus, the other containing a brilliant lantern to give 
light on the road. 

The sea was beautiful, the sky pure. Scarcely could the 
long vehicle feel the broad undulations of the ocean. A 
light breeze from the east rippled the surface of the 
waters. The horizon, free from fog, made observation 
easy. Nothing was in sight. Not a quicksand, not an 
island. A vast desert. 

Captain Nemo, by the help of his sextant, took the 
altitude of the sun, which ought also to give the latitude. 
Ho waited for some moments till its disc touched the 
horizon. Whilst taking observations not a muscle moved; 
the instrument could not have been more motionless in a 
hand of marble. 

" Twelve o'clock, sir," said he. *' When you like " 

I cast a last look upon the sea, slightly yellowed by the 
Japanese coast, and descended to the saloon. 

'" And now, sir, I leave you to your studies," added the 
captain; "our course is E.N.E., our depth is twenty-six 
fathoms. Here are maps on a large scale by which you 
may follow it. The saloon is at your disposal, and with 
your permission I will retire." Captain Nemo bowed, and 


I remained alone, lost in thoughts all bearing ou the oom- 
naander of the Nautilus. 

For a whole hour was I deep in these reflections, seeking 
to pierce this mystery so interesting to me. Tiien my 
eyes fell upon the vast planisphere spread upon the table, 
and I placed my finger on the very spot where the given 
latitude and longitude crossed. 

The sea has its large rivers like the continents. They 
are special currents known by their temperature, and 
their color. The most remarkable of these is known by 
the name of the Gulf Stream. Science has decided on the 
globe the direction of five principal currents: one in the 
North Atlantic, a second in the South, a third in the 
North Pacific, a fourth in the South, and a fifth in the 
Southern Indian Ocean. It is even probable that a sixth 
current existed at one time or another in the Northern 
Indian Ocean, when the Caspian and Aral Seas formed 
but one vast sheet of water. 

At this point indicated on the planisphere one of these 
currents was rolling, the Kuro Scivo of the Japanese, the 
Black Kiver, which, leaving the Gulf of Bengal where it is 
warmed by the perpendicular rays of a tropical sun, crosses 
the Straits of Malacca along the cost of Asia, turns into 
the North Pacific to the Aleutian Islands, carrying with 
it trunks of camphor-trees and other indigenous produc- 
tions, and edging the waves of the ocean with the pure 
indigo of its warm water. It was this current that the 
Nautilus was to follow. I followed it with my eye; saw 
it lose itself in the vastness of the Pacific, and felt myself 
drawn with it, when Ned Land and Conseil appeared at 
the door of the saloon. 

My two brave companions remained petrified at the 
siglit of tlie wonders spread before them. 

" Where are we, where are we?" exclaimed the Cana- 
dian. "In the museum at Quebec?" 

*' My friends," I answered, making a sign for theni to 
enter, '' you are not in Canada, but on board the Nautilus, 
fifty yards below the level of the sea." 

" But M. Aronnax," said Ned Land, " can you tell me 
how many men there are on board? Ten, twenty, fifty, a 

"I cannot answer you now, Mr. Land; it is better to 
abandon for a time all idea of seizing the Nautilus or 


escaping from it. This ship is a masterpiece of modem 
industry, and I should be sorry not to have seen it. Many 
people would accept tlie situation forced upon us, if only 
to move among such wonders. So be quiet, and let us try 
and see what passes around us." 

"See!" said the harpooner, "but we can see nothing 
in this iron prison! We are walking — we are sailing — 

Ned Land had scarcely pronounced these words when 
all was suddenly darkness. The luminous ceiling was 
gone, and so rapidly that my eyes received a painful 

We remained mute, not stirring, and not knowing what 
surprise awaited us, whether agreeable or disagreeable. A 
sliding noise was heard; one would have said that panels 
were working at the sides of the Nautilus. 

" It is the end of the end!" said Ned Land. 

Suddenly light broke at each side of the saloon, 
through two oblong openings. The liquid mass appeared 
vividly lit up by the electric gleam. Two crystal plates 
separated us from the sea. At first I trembled at the 
thought that this frail partition might break, but strong 
bands of copper bound them, giving an almost infinite 
power of resistance. 

The sea was distinctly visible for a mile all round the 
Nautilus. What a spectacle ! What pen can describe it? 
Who could paint the effects of the light through those 
transparent sheets of water, and the softness of the suc- 
cessive gradations from the lower to the superior strata of 
the ocean? 

We know the transparency of the sea, and that its clear- 
ness is far beyond that of rock water. The mineral and 
organic substances which it holds in suspension heighten 
its transparency. In certain parts of the ocean at the 
Antilles, under seventy-five fathoms of water, can be seen 
with surprising clearness a bed of sand. The penetrating 
power of the solar rays does not seem to cease for a 
depth of one hundred and fifty fathoms. But in this 
middle fluid traveled over by the Nautilus the electric 
brightness was produced even in the bosom of the waves.. 
It was no longer luminous water, but liquid light. 

On each side a window opened mto this unexplored 
abyss. The obscurity of the saloon showed to ad van- 


tage the brightness outside, and we looked out as if 
this pure crystal had been the glass of an immense 

" You wished to see, friend Ned; well, you see now." 

"Curious! curious!" muttered the Canadian, who for- 
getting his ill-temper, seemed to submit to some irresist- 
ible attraction; '* and one would come further than this to 
admire such a sight!" 

*'Ah!" thought I to myself, "1 understand the life of 
this man; he has made a world apart for himself, in which 
he treasures all his greatest wonders." 

For two whole hours an aquatic army escorted the 
Nautilus. During their games, their bounds while rival- 
ing each other in beauty, brightness, and velocity, I 
distinguished the green labre; the banded mullet, marked 
by a double line of black; the round- tailed goby, of a 
white color, with violet spots on the back; the Japanese 
scrombrus, a beautiful mackerel of these seas, with a blue 
body and silvery head; the brilliant azurors, whose names 
alone defies description; some banded spares, with varie- 
gated fins of blue and yellow; some aclostones, the wood- 
cocks of the sea, some specimens of which attain a yard in 
length; Japanese salamanders, spider lampreys, serpents 
six feet long, with eyes small and lively, and a huge mouth 
bristling with teeth; with many other species. 

Our imagination was kept at its height, interjections 
followed quickly on each other. Ned named the fish, 
and Conseil classed them. I was in ecstasies with the 
vivacity of their movements and the beauty of their 
forms. Never had it been given to me to surprise these 
animals, alive and at liberty, in their natural element. I 
will not mention all the varieties which passed before my 
dazzled eyes, all the collection of the seas of China and 
Japan. These fish more numerous than the birds of the 
air, came, attracted, no doubt, ^by the brilliant focus of the 
oioctric light. 

Suddenly there was daylight in the saloon, the iron 
jianels closed, again, and the enchanting vision disappeared. 
But for a long time I dreamt on till my eyes fell on the 
instruments hanging on the partition. The compass still 
showed the course to be E.N.E., the manometer indicated 
a pressure of five atmospheres, equivalent to a depth of 
twenty-five fathoms, and the electric log gave a speed oJJ 


fifteen miles an hour. I expected Captain Nemo, but he 
did not appear. [ 'he clock marked the hour of five. 

Ned Land and Conseil returned to their cabin, and I 
retired to my chamber. My dinner was ready. It was 
composed of turtle-soup made of the most delicate hawk- 
bills, of a surmullet served with puff paste (the liver of 
Avhich prepared by itself, was most delicious), and fillets 
of the emperor-holocanthus, the savor of which seemed to 
me superior even to salmon. » 

I passed the evening reading, writing and thinking. 
Then sleep overpowered me, and I stretched myself on 
my couch of zostera, and slept profoundly, whilst the 
Nautilus was gliding rapidly through the current of the 
Black Elver. 



The next day was the 9th of November. I awoke after 
a long sleep of twelve hours. Conseil came, according to 
custom, to know ''how I had passed the night," and to 
offer his services. He had left his friend, the Canadian, 
sleepmg like a man who had never done anything else all 
bis life. I let the worthy fellow chatter as he pleased, 
without caring to answer him. I was preoccupied by the 
absence of the captain during our sitting of the day be- 
fore, and hoping to see him to-day. 

As soon as I was dressed I went into the saloon. It 
was deserted. 

I plunged into the study of the conchological treasures 
hidden behind the glasses. I reveled also in great herbals 
filled with the rarest marine plants, which, although dried 
np, retained their lovely colors. Amongst these precious 
hydrophytes I remarked some vorticellae, pavonariae, deli- 
cate ceramics with scarlet tints, some fan-shaped agari, 
and some natabuli like flat mushrooms, which at one time 
used to be classed as zoophytes; in short a perfect series 
of algas. 

The whole day passed without my being honored by a 
visit from Captain Nemo. The panels of the saloon did 
not open. Perhaps they did not wish us to tire of these 
beautiful things. 


The course of the Nautilus was E.N.E., her speed Lwelvo 
knots, the depth below the surface between twenty-five 
and thirty fathoms. 

The next day, 10th of November, the same desertion, the 
same solitude. I did not see one of the ship's crew: Ned 
and Conseil spent the greater part of the day with me. 
They were astonished at the inexplicable absence of the 
captain. Was this singular man ill? had he altered his 
intentions with regard to us?" 

After all, as Conseil said, we enjoyed perfect liberty, we 
were delicately and abundantly fed. Our host kept to his 
terms of the treaty. We could not complain, and, indeed, 
the singularity of our fate reserved such wonderful com- 
pensation for us, that we had no riglit to accuse it as yet. 

That day I commenced the journal of these adventures 
which has enabled me to relate them with more scrupu- 
lous exactitude and minute detail. I wrote it on paper 
made from the zostera marina. 

11th November, early in the morning. The fresh air 
spreading over the interior of the Nautilus, told me that 
we had come to the surface of the ocean to renew our sup- 
ply of oxygen. I directed my steps to the central stair- 
case, and mounted the platform. 

It was six o'clock, the weather was cloudy, the sea gray 
but calm. Scarcely a billow. Captain Nemo, whom I 
hoped to meet, would he be there? I saw no one but the 
steersman imprisoned in his glass cage. Seated upon the 
projection formed by the hull of the pinnace, I inhaled the 
salt breeze with delight. 

By degrees the fog disappeared under the action of the 
sun's rays, the radiant orb rose from behind the eastern 
horizon. The sea flamed under its glances like a train of 
gunpowder. The clouds scattered in the heights were 
colored Avith lively tints of beautiful shades, and numer- 
ous " mare's tails," which betokened wind for that day. 
But what was wind to this Nautilus, which tempests could 
not frighten? 

I was admiring this joyous rising of the sun, so gay, and 
80 life-giving, when I heard steps approaching the plat- 
form. I was prepared to salute Captain Nemo, but it was 
his second (whom I had already seen on the captain's first 
visit) who appeared. He advanced on the platform, not 
geeming to see me. With his powerful glass to his eye hq 

•ye 20,000 leagues under the seas. 

scanned every point of the horizon with great attention. 
This examination over, he approached the panel and pro- 
nounced a sentence in exactly these terms. I have remem- 
bered it, for every morning it was repeated under exactly 
the same conditions. It was thus worded: 

**Nautron respoc lorni virch." 

What it meant I could not say. 

These words pronounced, the second descended. I 
thought that the Nautilus was about to return to its sub. 
marine navigation. I regained the panel and returned to 
my chamber. 

Five days sped thus, without any change in our situa- 
tion. Every morning I mounted the platform. The 
same phrase was pronounced by the same individual. But 
Captain Nemo did not appear. 

I had made up my mind that I should never see him 
again, when, on the 16th of November, on returning to 
my room with Ned and Conseil, I found upon my table a 
note addressed to me. I opened it impatiently. It was 
written in a bold, clear hand ; the characters rather 
pointed, recalling the German type. The note was worded 
as follows: 

" To Professor Aronnax, on hoard the Nautilus. 

" 16th of November, 1867. 
*' Captain Nemo invites Professor Aronnax to a hunting- 
party, which will take place to-morrow morning in the 
forests of the island of Crespo. He hopes that nothing 
will prevent the Professor from being present, and he will 
with pleasure see him joined by his companions. 

" Captaiist Nemo, Commander of the Nautilus." 

*' A hunt!" exclaimed Ned. 

" And in the forests of the island of Crespo!" added 

"0, then the gentleman is gomg on terra firmaf* re- 
plied Ned Land. 

'•' That seems to me to be clearly indicated," said I, 
reading the letter once more, 

"Well, we must accept," said the Canadian. "But 
once more on dry ground, we shall know what to do. 
Indeed, I shall not be sorrj to eat a piece of fresh ven- 


Without seeking to reconcile what was contradictory be- 
tween Captain Nemo's manifest aversion to islands and 
continents, and his invitation to hunt in a forest, I con- 
tented myself with replying: 

" Let us first see where the island of Crespo is." 

I consulted the planisphere, and in 32** 40' north lat., 
and IbT 50' west long., I found a small island, recognized 
in 1801 by Captain Crespo, and marked in the ancient 
Spanish maps as Rocca de la Plata, the meaning of which 
is "The Silver Eock." We were then about eighteen 
hundred miles from our starting point, and the course of 
the Nautilus, a little changed, was bringing it back toward 
the southeast. I showed this little rock lost in the midst 
of the North Pacific to my companions. 

" If Captain Nemo does sometimes go on dry ground," 
said I, "he at least chooses desert islands." 

Ned Land shrugged his shoulders without speaking, and 
Conseil and he left me. 

After supper, which was served by the steward, mute and 
impassible, I. went to bed, not without some anxiety. 

The next morning, the 17th of November, on awakening, 
I felt that the Nautilus was perfectly still. I dressed 
quickly and entered the saloon. 

Captain Nemo was there, waiting for me. He rose, 
bowed, and asked me if it was convenient for me to ac- 
company him. As he made no allusion to his absence 
during the last eight days, I did not mention it, and 
simply answered that my companions and myself were 
ready to follow him. 

We entered the dining-room, where breakfast was 

" M. Aronnax," said the Captain, *' pray share my 
breakfast without ceremony; we will chat as we eat. 
For, though I promised you a walk in the forest, I did 
not undertake to find hotels there. So breakfast as a 
man who will most likely not have his dinner till very 

I did honor to the repast. It was composed of several 
kinds of fish, and several slices of holothuridae (excellent 
zoophytes), and different sorts of sea-weed. Our drink 
consisted of pure water, to which the captain added some 
drops of a fermented liquor, extracted by the Kamtchatka 
method from a sea- weed known under the name of Rhodo-* 


menia palmata. Captain Neaio ate at first without saying 
a word. Then he began: 

"Sir, when I proposed to you to hunt in my submarine 
forest of Crespo, you evidently thought me mad. Sir, 
you should never judge lightly of any man." 

"But, Captain, believe me " 

*' Be kind enough to listen, and you will then see 
whether you have any cause to accuse me of folly and con- 

"I listen." 

"You know as well 'as I do, Professor, that man can 
live under water providing he carries with him a sufficient 
supply of breatliable air. In submarine works the work- 
man, clad in an impervious dress, with his head in a metal 
helmet, receives air from above by means of forcing-pumps 
and regulators.' 

" That is a diving apparatus," said I. 

"Just so; but under these conditions the man is not 
at liberty; he is attached to the pump, which sends him 
air through an india-rubber tube, and if we were obliged 
to be thus held to the Nautilus, we could not go far." 

" And the means of getting free?" I asked. 

"It is to use the Rouquayrol apparatus, invented by 
two of your own countrymen, which I have brought to 
perfection for my own use, and which will allow you to 
risk yourself under these new physiological conditions, 
without any organ whatever suffering. It consists of a 
reservoir of thick iron plates, in which I store the air under 
a pressure of fifty atmospheres. This reservoir is fixed on 
the back by means of braces, like a soldier's knapsack. 
Its upper part forms a box in which the air is kept by 
means of a bellows, and therefore can not escape unless at 
its normal tension. In the Rouquayrol apparatus such as 
we use, two india-rubber pipes leave this box and join a 
sort of tent which holds the nose and mouth; one is to 
introduce fresh air, the other to let out tlie foul, and the 
tongue closes one or the other according to the wants of 
the respirator. But I, in encountering great pressures at 
the bottom of the sea, was obliged to shut my head, like 
that of a diver,- in a ball of copper; and it is to this ball 
of copper that the two pipes, the inspirator and the ex- 
pjjator, open." 
. " Perfectly, Captain Nemo; but the air that you carrj 

20,000 LEAGUES UlifDEll THE SEAS. 73 

with you must soon be used; when it only contains fifteen 
per cent, of oxygen, it is no longer fit to breathe." 

"Eight! but I told you, M. Aronnax, that the pumps 
of the Nautilus allow me to store tiie air under consider- 
able pressure; and on those conditions, the reservoir of 
the apparatus can furnish breathable air for nine or ten 

" I have no further objections to make," I answered; 
" I will only ask you one thing, Captain — how can you 
light your road at the bottom of the sea?" 

*' With the Khumkorff apparatus, M. Aronnax; one is 
carried on the back, the other is fastened to the waist. 
It is composed of a Bunsen pile, which I do not work 
with bichromate of potash, but with sodium. A wire is 
introduced which collects the electricity produced, and 
directs it toward a particularly made lantern. In this 
lantern is a spiral glass which contains a small quantity of 
carbonic gas. When the apparatus is at work, this gas 
becomes luminous, giving out a white and continuous light. 
Thus provided, I can breathe and I can see." 

" Captain Nemo, to all my objections you make such 
crushing answers, that I dare no longer doubt. But if I 
am forced to admit the Eouquayrol and Ehumkorff ap- 
paratus, I must be allowed some reservations with regard 
to the gun I am to carry." 

" But it is not a gun for powder," answered the Captain. 

" Then it is an air-gun?" 

''Doubtless! How would you have me manufacture 
gunpowder on board, without either saltpeter, sulphur, 
or charcoal?" 

''Besides," I added, " to fire under water in a medium 
eight hundred and fifty-five times denser than the air, we 
must conquer very considerable resistance." 

" That would be no difficulty. There exist guns, ac- 
cording to Fulton, perfected in England by Philip Coles 
and Burley, in France by Furcy, and in Italy by Landi, 
which are furnished with a peculiar system of closing, 
which can fire under these conditions. But I repeat, 
having no powder, I use air under great pressure, which 
the pumps of the Nautilus furnish abundantly." 

"But this air must be rapidly used?" 

" Well, have I not my Eouquayrol reservoir, which can 
furnish it at need? A tap is all that is required. Besides, 


M. Aronnax, you must see yourself that, during our sub- 
marine hunt, we can spend but little air and but few 

** But it seems to me that in this twilight, and in the 
midst of this fluid, which is very dense compared with 
the atmosphere, shots could not go far nor easily prove 

"• Sir, on the contrary, with this gun every blow is 
mortal; and however lightly the animal is touched, it falls 
as if struck by a thunderbolt." 


" Because the balls sent by this gun are not ordinary 
balls, but little cases of glass (invented by Leniebroek, an 
Austrian chemist), of which I have a large supply. These 
glass cases are covered with a case of steel, and weighted 
with a pellet of lead; they are real Leyden bottles, into 
which the electricity is forced to a very high tension. 
With the slightest shock they are discharged, and the 
animal, however strong it may be, falls dead. I must tell 
you that these cases are size number four, and that the 
charge for an ordinary gun would be ten." 

*' I will argue no longer," I replied, rising from the table; 
**I have nothing left me but to take my gun. At all 
events, I will go where you go." 

Captain Nemo then let me aft; and in passing before 
Ned and Conseil's cabin, I called my two companions, who 
followed immediately. We then came to a kind of cell 
pear the machinery-room, in which we were to put on our 



This cell was, to speak correctly, the arsenal and ward- 
robe of the Nautilus. A dozen diving apparatuses hung 
from the partition, waiting our use. 

Ned Land, on seeing them, showed evident repugnance 
to dress himself in one. 

" But, my worthy Ned, the forests of the Island of 
Crespo are nothing but submarine forests." 

"Good!" said the disappointed harpooner, who saw 
his dreams of fresh meat fade awuv. "And you, M. 


A.ronnax, are you going to dress yourself in those 

"There is no alternative, Master Ned." 

** As you please, sir," replied the harpooner, shrugging 
his shoulders; " but as for me, unless I am forced, I will 
never get into one." 

** No one will force you. Master Ned," said Captain 

'' Is Conseil going to risk it?" asked Ned. 

" I follow my master wherever he goes," replied Con- 

At the captain's call two of the ship's crew came to 
help us to dress in these heavy and impervious clothes 
made of india-rubber without seam, and constructed ex- 
pressly to resist considerable pressure. One would have 
thought it a suit of armor, both supple and resisting. 
This suit formed trousers and waistcoat. The trousers 
were finished off with thick boots, weighted with heavy 
leaden soles. The texture of the waistcoat was held to- 
gether by bands of copper, which crossed the chest, protect- 
ing it from the great pressure of the water, and leaving 
the lungs free to act; the sleeves ended in gloves, which 
in no way restrained the movement of the hands. There 
was a vast difference noticeable between these consum- 
mate apparatuses and the old cork breastplates, jackets, 
and other contrivances in vogue during the eighteenth 

Captain Nemo and one of his companions (a sort of 
Hercules, who must have possessed great strength), Con- 
seil and myself, were soon enveloped in the dresses. There 
remained nothing more to be done but to inclose our 
heads in the metal box. But before proceeding to this 
operation, I asked the captain's permission to examine the 
guns we were to carry. 

One of the Nautilus men gave me a simple gun, the 
but-end of which, made of steel hollow in the center, 
was rather large. It served as a reservoir for compressed 
air, which a valve, worked by a spring, allowed to escape 
into a metal tube. A box of projectiles, in a groove in 
the thickness of the but-end, contained about twenty of 
these electric balls which by means of a spring were forced 
into the barrel of the gun. As soon as one shot was fired, 
another was ready. 


''Captain Nemo," said I, "this arm is perfect, and 
easily handled; I only ask to be allowed to try it. But 
how shall we gain tlie bottom of the sea?" 

*'At this moment, Professor, the Nautilus is stranded 
in five fathoms, and we have nothing to do but to start." 

" But how shall we get off?" 

" You shall see." 

Captain Nemo thrust his head into the helmet; Conseil 
and I did the same, not without hearing an ironical *' Good 
Sport!" from the Canadian. The upper part of our dress 
terminated in a copper collar, upon which was screwed the 
metal helmet. Three holes, protected by thick glass, al- 
lowed us to see in all directions, by simply turning our 
heads in the interior of the head-dress. As soon as it was 
in position, the Rouquayrol apparatus on our backs began 
to act; and for my part, I could breathe with ease. 

With the Ruhmkorff lamp hanging from my belt, and 
the gun in my hand, I was ready to set out. But, to speak 
the truth, imprisoned in these heavy garments, and glued 
to the deck by my leaden soles, it was impossible for me 
to take a step. 

But this state of things was provided for. I felt myself 
being pushed into a little room contiguous to the wardrobe- 
room. My companions followed, towed along in the same 
way. I heard a water-tight door, furnished with stopper- 
plates, close upon us, and we were wrapped in profound 

After some minutes, a loud hissing was heard. I feel 
the cold mount from my feet to my chest. Evidently from 
some part of the vessel they had by means of a tap given 
entrance to the water, which was invading us, and with 
which the room was soon filled. A second door cut in the 
side of the Nautilus then opened. We saw a faint light. 
In another instant our feet trod the bottom of the sea. 

And now, how can I retrace the impression left upon 
me by that walk under the waters? Words are impotent 
to relate such wonders! Captain Nemo walked in front, 
his companions followed some steps behind. Conseil and 
I remained near each other, as if an exchange of words had 
been possible through our metallic cases. I no longer felt 
the weight of my clothing, or my shoes, of my reservoir 
of air, or of my thick helmet, in the midst of which my 
head rattled like an almond in its shell. 


The light, which lit the soil thirty feet below the sur- 
face of the ocean, astonished me by its power. The solar 
rays shone through the watery mass easily, and dissipated 
all color, and I clearly distinguished objects at a distance 
of a hundred and fifty yards. Beyond that the tints dark- 
ened into fine gradations of ultra-marine, and faded into 
vague obscurity. Truly this water which surrounded me 
was but another air denser than the terrestrial atmosphere, 
but almost as transparent. Above me was the calm sur- 
face of the sea. We were walking on fine, even sand, not 
wrinkled, as on a flat shore, which retains the impression 
of the billows. This dazzling carpet, really a reflector, 
repelled the rays of the sun with wonderful intensity, 
which accounted for the vibration which penetrated every 
atom of liquid. Shall I be believed when I say that, at 
the depth of thirty feet, I could see as if I was in broad 

For a quarter of an hour I trod on this sand, sown with 
the impalpable dust of shells. The hull of the Nautilus, 
resembling a long shoal, disappeared by degrees; but its 
lantern, when darkness should overtake us in the waters, 
would help to guide us on board by its distinct rays. 

Soon forms of objects outlined in the distance were dis- 
cernible. I recognized magnificent rocks, hung with a 
tapestry of zoophytes of the most beautiful kind, and I 
was at first struck by the peculiar effect of this medium. 

It was then ten in the morning; the rays of the sun 
struck the surface of the waves at rather an oblique angle, 
and at the touch of their light, decomposed by refraction 
as through a prism, flowers, rocks, plants, shells, and 
polypi were shaded at the edges by the seven solar colors. 
It was marvelous, a feast for the eyes, this complication 
of colored tints, a perfect kaleidoscope of green, yellow, 
orange, violet, indigo, and blue; in one word, the whole 
palette of an enthusiastic colorist! Why could I not com- 
municate to Conseil the lively sensations which were 
mounting to my brain, and rival him in expressions of ad- 
miration? For aught I knew, Captain Nemo and his 
companion might be able to exchange thoughts by means 
of signs previously agreed upon. So for want of better, I 
talked to myself; I declaimed in the copper box which 
covered my head, thereby expending more air in vain words 
than was, perhaps, expedient. 


Various kinds of isis, clusters of pure tuft-coral, prickly 
fungi, and anemones, formed a brilliant garden of flowers, 
enameled with porphitae, decked with their collarettes ot 
blue tentacles, sea-stars studding the sandy bottom, to- 
gether with asterophytons like fine lace embroidered by 
the hands of naiads; whose festoons were waved by the 
gentle undulations caused by our walk. It was a real 
grief to me to crush under my feet the brilliant specimens 
of molluscs which strewed the ground by thousands, of 
hammerheads, donaciae (veritable bounding shells), of 
staircases, and red helmet-shells, angel-wings, and many 
others produced by this inexhaustible ocean. But we 
were bound to walk, so we went on, whilst above our heads 
waved shoals of physalidea, leaving their tentacles to float 
in their train, medusae whose umbrellas of opal or rose- 
pink, escaloped with a band of blue, sheltered us from 
the rays of the sun and fiery pelagiae, which, in the dark- 
ness, would have strewn our path with phosphorescent 

All these wonders I saw in the space of a quarter of a 
mile, scarcely stopping, and following Captain Nemo, who 
beckoned me on by signs. Soon the nature of the soil 
changed; to the sandy plain succeeded an extent of slimy 
mud, which the Americans call " ooze," composed of equal 
parts of silicious and calcareous shells. We then traveled 
over a plain of sea-weed of wild and luxuriant vegetation. 
This sward was of close texture, and soft to the feet, and 
rivaled the softest carpet woven by the hand of man. But 
whilst verdure was spread at,our feet, it did not abandon 
our heads. A light network of marine plants, of that 
inexhaustible family of sea-weeds of which more than two 
thousand kinds are known, grew on t-he surface of the 
water. I saw long ribbons of fucns floating, some glob- 
ular, others tuberous; laurenciae and cladostephi of most 
delicate foliage, and some rhodomeniae palmatae, resem- 
bling the fan of a cactus. I noticed that the green plants 
kept nearer the top of the sea whilst the red were at a 
greater depth, leaving to the black or brown hydrophytes 
the care of forming gardens and parterres in the remote 
beds of the ocean. 

We had quitted the Nautilus about an hour and a half. 
It was near noon; I knew by the perpendicularity of the 
Bun's rays, which were no longer refracted. The magical 


colors disappeared by degrees, and the shades of emerald 
and sapphire were effaced. We walked with a regular 
step, which rang upon the ground with astonishing in- 
tensity; the slightest noise was transmitted with a quick- 
ness to which the ear is unaccustomed on the earth; indeed, 
water is a better conductor of sound tlian air, in the ratio 
of four to one. At this period the earth sloped downward; 
the light took a uniform tint. We were at a depth of a 
hundred and five yards and twenty inches, undergoing a 
pressure of six atmospheres. 

At this depth I could still see the rays of the sun, 
though feebly; to their intense brilliancy had succeeded 
a reddish twilight, the lowest state between day and night; 
but we could still see well enough; it was not necessary to 
resort to the Ruhmkorff apparatus as yet. At this mo- 
ment Captain Nemo stopped; he waited till I joined him, 
and then pointed to an obscure mass, looming in th« 
shadow, at a short distance. 

" It is the forest of the Island of Crespo," thought Ij 
and I was uot mistaken. 



We had at last arrived on the borders of this forest, 
doubtless one of the finest of Captain Nemo's immense 
domains. He looked upon it as his own, and considered 
he had the same right over it that the first men had in 
the first days of the world. And, indeed, who would 
have disputed with him the possession of this submarine 
property? What other hardier pioneer would come, hatchet 
in hand, to cut down the dark copses? 

This forest was composed of large tree-plants: and the 
moment we penetrated under its vast arcades, I was struck 
by the singular position of their branches — a position I 
had not yet observed. 

Not an herb which carpeted the ground, not a branch 
which clothed the trees, was either broken or bent, nor 
did they extend horizontaly; all stretched up to the sur- 
face of the ocean. Not a filament, not a ribbon, however 
thin they might be, but kept as straight as a rod of iron. 
The fuel and llianas grew in rigid perpendicular lines, due 


to the density of the element which had produced them. 
Motionless, yet, when bent to one side by the hand, they 
directly resumed their former position. Truly it was the 
region of perpendicularity! 

I soon accustomed myself to this fantastic position, as 
well as to the comparative darkness which surrounded us. 
The soil of the forest seemed covered with sharp blocks, 
difficult to avoid. The submarine flora struck me as be- 
ing very perfect, and richer even than it would have been 
in the arctic or tropical zones, where these productions 
are not so plentiful. But for some minutes I involun- 
tarily confounded the genera, taking zoophytes for hydro- 
phytes, animals for plants; and who would not have been 
mistaken? The fauna and the flora are too clo sely allied 
in this submarine world. 

These plants are self-propagated, and the principle of 
their existence is in the water, which upholds and nourishes 
them. The greater number, instead of leaves, shoot forth 
blades of capricious shapes comprised within a scale of 
colors — pink, carmine, green, olive, fawn and brown. I 
saw there (but not dried up, as our specimens of the Nau- 
tilus are) pavonari spread like a fan, as if to catch the 
breeze; scarlet ceramics, whose iamiuaries extended their 
edible shoots of fern-shaped nereocysti, which grow to a 
height of fifteen feet; clusters of acetabuli, whose stems in- 
crease in size upward; and numbers of otiier marine plants, 
all devoid of flowers! 

"Curious anomaly! fantastic element!" said an ingeni- 
ous naturalist, " in which the animal kingdom blossoms, 
and the vegetable does not!" 

Under these numerous shrubs (as large as trees of the 
temperate zone), and under their damp shadow, were 
massed together real bashes of living flowers, hedges of 
zoophytes, on which blossomed some zebra meandrines, 
with crooked grooves; some yellow caryophylliae; and, to 
complete the illusion, the fish-flies flew from branch to 
branch like a swarm of humming-birds; whilst yellow 
lepisacomthi, with bristling jaws, dactylopteri, and mono- 
centrides rose at our feet like a flight of snipes. 

In about an hour Captain Nemo gave the signal to halt. 
I, for my part, was not sorry; and we stretched ourselves 
under an arbor of alarise, the long thin blades of which 
»tood up like arrow*. , 


This short rest seemed delicious to me; there was nothing 
wanting but the charm of conversation; but impossible to 
speak, impossible to answer, I only put my great copper 
head to Conseil's. T saw the worthy fellow's eyes glisten- 
ing with delight, and to show his satisfaction, he shook 
himself in his breastplate of air in the most comical way 
in the world. 

After four hours of this walking I was surprised not to 
find myself dreadfully hungry. How to account for this 
state of the stomach I could not tell. But instead, I felt 
an insurmountable desire to sleep, which happens to all 
divers; and my eyes soon closed behind the thick glasses, 
and I fell into a he&vy slumber, which the movement alone 
had prevented before. Captain Nemo and his robust com- 
panion, stretched in the clear crystal, set us the example. 

How long I remained buried in this drowsiness, I can- 
not judge; but, when I woke, the sun seemed sinking 
toward the horizon. Captain Nemo had already risen, 
and I was beginning to stretch my limbs, when an unex- 
pected apparition brought me briskly to my feet. 

A few steps off, a monster sea-spider, about thirty -eight 
inches high, was watching me with squinting eyes, ready to 
spring upon me. Though my diver's dress was tluck 
enough to defend me from the bite of this animal, I could 
not help shuddering with horror. Conseil and the sailors 
of the Nautilus awoke at this moment. Captain Nemo 
pointed out the hideous crustacean, which a blow from 
tlie butt-end of the gun knocked over, and I saw the 
claws of the horrible monster writhe in terrible convul- 
sions. This accident reminded me that other animals 
more to be feared might haunt these obscure depths, 
against whose attacks my diving-dress would not protect 
me. I had never thought of it before, but I now resolved 
to be upon my guard. Indeed, I thought this halt would 
mark the termination of our walk; but I was mistaken, 
for, instead of returning to the Nautilus, Captain Nemo 
continued his bold excursion. The ground was still on 
the incline, its declivity seemed to be getting greater, and 
to be leading us to greater depths. It must have been 
about three o'clock when we reached a narrow valley, 
between high, perpendicular walls, situated about seventy- 
five fathoms deep. Thanks to the perfection of our appa- 
ratus, we are forty-five faLhoms below the limit which 


iiHtnre seems to have imposed on man as to his subm- 
arine excursions. 

I say seventy- fire fathoms, though I had no instrument 
by which to judge the distance. But I know that even 
in the clearest waters the solar rays could not penetrate 
fnrther. And accordingly the darkness deepened. At 
ten paces not on object was visible. I was groping my 
way, when I suddenly saw a brilliant white light. Cap- 
tain Nemo had just put his electric apparatus into use; 
his companion did the same, and Conseil and I followed 
their example. By turning a screw I established a com- 
munication between the wire and the spiral glass, and the 
sea, lit by our four lanterns, was illuminated for a circle 
of thirty-six yards. 

Captain Nemo was still plunging into the dark depths 
of the forest, whose trees were getting sparcer at every 
step. I noticed that vegetable life disappeared sooner 
than animal life. The medusae had already abandoned 
the arid soil, from which a great number of animals, 
zoophytes, molluscs, and fishes, still obtained suste- 

As we walked, I thought the light of our RuhmkorfE 
apparatus could not fail to draw some inhabitant from its 
dark couch. But if they did approach us they at least 
kept a respectful distance from the hunters. Several times 
1 saw Captain Nemo stop, put his gun to his shoulder, 
and after some moments drop it and walk on. At last, 
after about four hours, this marvelous excursion came to 
an end. A wall of superb rocks, in an imposing mass, 
rose before us, a heap of gigantic blocks, an enormous 
steep granite shore, forming dark grottos, but which pre- 
sented no practicable slope: it was the prop of the Island 
of Crespo. It was the earth! Captain Nemo stopped 
suddenly. A gesture of his brought us all to a halt; and 
however desirous I might be to scale the wall, I was obliged 
to stop. Here ended Captain Nemo's domains, and he 
would not go beyond them. Furtlier on was a portion of 
the globe he might not trample upon. 

The return began. Captain Nemo had returned to the 
head of his little band, directing their course without hesi- 
tation. I thought we were not following the same road to 
return to the I^autilus. The new road was very steep, 
and consequently very painful. We approached the sur- 


face of the sea rapidly, but this return to the upper strata 
was not so sudden as to cause relief from the pressure too 
rapidly, which might have produced serious disorder in 
our organization, and brought on internal lesions, so fatal 
to divers. Very soon light reappeared and grew, and the 
sun being low on the horizon, the refraction edged the 
different objects with a spectral ring. At ten yards and 
a half deep we walked amidst a shoal of little fishes of all 
kinds, more numerous than the birds of the air, and also 
more agile; but no aquatic game worthy of a shot had as 
yet met our gaze, when at that moment I saw the captain 
shoulder his gun quickly, and follow a moving object into 
the shrubs. He fired — I heard a slight hissing, and a 
creature fell stunned at some distance from us. It was a 
magnificent sea-otter, an enhydrus, the only exclusively 
marine quadruped. This otter was five feet long, and 
must have been very valuable. Its skin, chestnut-brown 
above and silvery underneath, would have made one of 
those beautiful furs so sought after in the Eussian rnd 
Chinese markets; the fineness and the luster of its coat 
would certainly fetch £80. I admired this curious mammal, 
with its rounded head ornamented with short ears, it's 
round eyes, and white whiskers like those of a cat, with 
webbed feet and nails, and tufted tail. This precious 
animal, hunted and tracked by fishermen, has now become 
Tery rare, and taken refuge chiefly in the northern parts 
of the Pacific, or probably its race would soon become ex* 

Captain Nemo's companion took the beast, threw it 
over his shoulder, and we continued on our journey. For 
an hour a plain of sand lay stretched before us. Some- 
times it rose to within two yards and some inches of 
the surface of the water. I then saw our image clearly 
reflected, drawn inversely, an J above us- appeared an iden- 
tical group reflecting our movements and our actions; in 
a word, like us in every point, except that they walked 
with their heads downward and their feet in the air. 

Another effect noticed, which was the passage of thick 
clouds which formed and vanished rapidly; but on reflec- 
tion I understood that these seeming clouds were due to 
the varying thickness of the reeds at the bottom, and I 
could even see the fleecy foam which their broken tops 
multiplied on the water, and the shadows of large bir4s 


passing above our heads, whose rapid flight I could dis- 
cern on the surface of the sea. 

On this occasion I was witness to one of the finest gun- 
shots that ever made the nerves of a liunter thrill. A large 
bird, of great breadth of wing, clearly visible, approached, 
hovering over us. Captain Nemo's companion shouldered 
his gun and fired, when it was only a few yards above the 
waves. The creature fell stunned, and the force of its 
fall brought it within reach of the dexterous hunter's 
grasp. It was an albatross of the finest kind. 

Our march had not been interrupted by this incident. 
For two hours we followed these sandy plains, then fields of 
alg£e very disagreeable to cross. Candidly, I could do no 
more when I saw a glimmer of light, which for a half- 
mile broke the darkness of the waters. It was the lantern 
of the Nautilus. Before twenty minutes were over we 
should be on board, and I should be able to' breathe with 
ease; for it seemed that my reservoir supplied air very 
deficient in oxygen. But I did not reckon on an acci- 
dental meeting, which delayed our arrival for some time. 

I had remained some steps behind, when I presently 
saw Captain Nemo coming hurriedly toward me. With 
his strong hand he bent me to the ground, his companion 
doing the same to Conseil. At first I knew not what to 
think of this sudden attack, but I was soon reassured by 
seeing the captain lie down beside me, and remain im- 

I was stretched on the ground, just under shelter of a 
bush of algae, when, rising my head, I saw some enor- 
mous mass, casting phosphorescent gleams, pass bluster- 
ingly by. 

My blood froze in my veins as I recognized two formid- 
able sharks which threatened us. It was a couple of 
tintoreas, terrible creatures, with enormous tails and a 
dull glassy stare, the phosphorescent matter ejected from 
holes pierced around the muzzle. Monstrous brutes! 
which would crush a whole man in their iron jaws. I did 
not know whether Conseil stopped to classify them; for 
my part, I noticed their silver bellies, and their huge 
mouths bristling with teeth, from a very unscientific point 
of view, and more as a possible victim than as a natur- 

Happily the Yoracious creatures do not see well. They 


passed without seeing us, brushing us with their brownish 
fins, and we escaped by a miracle from a danger certainly 
greater than meeting a tiger full-face in the forest. Half 
an hour after, guided by the electric light, we reached the 
Nautilus. The outside door had been left open, and Cap- 
tain Nemo closed it as soon as we had entered the first 
cell. He then pressed a knob. I heard the pumps work- 
ing in the midst of the vessel,,! felt the water sinking 
from around me, and in a few moments the cell was entire- 
ly empty. The inside door then opened, and we entered 
the vestry. 

There our diving-dress was taken off, not without some 
trouble; and, fairly worn out from want of food and sleep, 
I returned to my room, in great wonder at this surprising 
excursion at the bottom of the sea. 



The next morning, the 18th of November, I had iquite 
recovered from my fatigues of the day before, and I went 
up on to the platform, just as the second lieutenant was 
uttering his daily phrase. 

I was admiring the magnificent aspect of the ocean when 
Captain Nemo appeared. He did not seem to be aware of 
my presence, and began a series of astronomical observa- 
tions. Then, when he had finished, he went and leant'on 
the cage of the watch-light, and gazed abstractedly on the 
ocean. In the meantime, a number of the sailors of the 
Nautilus, all strong and healthy men, had come up on to 
the platform. They came to draw up the nets that had 
been laid all night. These sailors were evidently of differ- 
ent nations, although the European type was visible in all 
of them. I recognized some unmistakable Irishmen, 
Frenchmen, some Sclaves, and a Greek or a Candiote. 
They were civil, and only used that odd language among 
themselves, the origin of which I could not guess, neither 
could I question them. 

The nets were hauled in. They were a large kind of 
"chaluts," like those on the Normandy coasts, great pock- 
ets that the. waves and a chain fixed in the smaller meshes, 


kept open. These pockets, drawn by iron poles, swept 
through the water, and gathered in everything in their 
way. That day they brought up curious specimens from 
those productive coasts — fishing-frogs that, from their 
comical movements, have acquired the name of buffoons; 
black commersons, furnished with antennae; trigger-fish, 
encircled with red bands; orthragorisci, with very subtle 
venom; some olive-colored lampreys; macrorhynci, cov- 
ered with silvery scales; trichiuri, the electric power of 
wliich is equal to that of the gymnotus and cramp-fish; 
scaly nqtopteri, with transverse brown bands; greenish 
cod; several varieties of gobies, etc., also some larger fish; 
a caranx with a prominent head a yard long; several fine 
bonitos, streaked with blue and silver; and three splendid 
tunnies, which, spite of the swiftness of their motion, had 
not escaped the net. 

I reckoned that the haul had brought in more than nine 
hundred weight of fish. It was a fine haul, but not to be 
wondered at. Indeed, the nets are let down for several 
hours, and inclose in their meshes an infinite variety. 
We had no lack of excellent food, and the rapidity of the 
Nautilus and the attraction of the electric light could al- 
ways renew our supply. These several productions of the 
sea were immediately lowered through the panel to the 
steward's room, some to be eaten fresh, and others 

The fishing ended, the provision of air renewed, I 
thought that the Nautilus was about to continue its sub- 
marine excursion, and was preparing to return to my 
room, when, without further preamble, the captain turned 
to me, saying: 

*' Professor, is not this ocean gifted with real life? It 
lias its tempers and its gentle moods. Yesterday it slept 
as we did, and now it has woke after a quiet night. 
Look!" he continued, '^' it wakes under the caresses of 
the sun. It is going to renew its diurnal existence. It is 
an interesting study to watch the play of its organization. 
It has a pulse, arteries, spasms; and I agree with the 
learned Maury, who discovered in it a circulation as real 
as the circulation of blood in animals. 

''Yes, the ocean has indeed circulation, and to promote 
it the Creator has caused things to multiply in it — calorie, 
salt; auimalculsQ." * < 


When Captain Nemo spoke thus, he seemed altogether 
changed, and aroused an extraordinary emotion in me. 

"Also," he added, "true existence is there; and I can 
imagine the foundations of nautical towns, clusters of 
submarine houses, which, like the Nautilus, would ascend 
every morning to breathe at the surface of the water — 
free towns, independent cities. Yet who knows whether 
some despot " 

Captain Nemo finished his sentence with a violent gest- 
ure. Then, addressing me as if to chase away some sor- 
rowful thought — " M. Aronnax," he asked, " do you know 
the depth of the ocean?" 

"I only know. Captain, what the principal soundings 
have taught us." 

" Could you tell me them, so that I can suit them to 
my purpose?" 

" These are some," I replied, " that I remember. If 
I am not mistaken, a depth of 8,000 yards has been found 
in tlie North Atlantic, and 2,500 yards in the Mediter- 
ranean. The most remarkable soundings have been made 
in the South Atlantic, near the 35th parallel, and they 
gave 12,000 yards, 14,000 yards, and 15,000 yards. To 
sum up all, it is reckoned that if the bottom of the sea 
were leveled, its mean depth would be about one and 
three-quarter leagues." 

" Well, Professor," replied the Captain, " we shall 
show you better than that, I hope. As to the mean 
depth of this part of the Pacific, I tell you it is only 4,000 

Having said this. Captain Nemo went toward the 
panel, and disappeared down the ladder. I followed him, 
and went into the large drawing-room. The screw was 
immediately put in motion, and the log gave twenty miles 
an hour. 

During the days and weeks that passed. Captain Nemo 
was very sparing of his visits. I seldom saw him. The 
lieutenant picked tlie ship's course regularly on the chart, 
so I could always tell exactly the route of the Nautilus. 

Nearly every day, for some time, the panels of the 
drawing-room were opened, and we were never tired of 
penetrating the mysteries of the submarine world. 

The general direction of the Nautilus was southeast, 
and it kept between 100 and 150 yards of depth. One 


day, however, I do not know why, being drawn diag- 
onally by means of the inclined planes, it touched the 
bed of the sea. The thermometer indicated a tempera- 
ture of 4.25 (cent.); a temperature that at this depth 
seemed common to all latitudes. 

At three o'clock on the morning of the 26th of No- 
rember, the Nautilus crossed the tropic of Cancer at 112° 
longitude. On the 27th instant it sighted the Sandwich 
Islands, where Cook died, February 14, 1779. We had 
then gone 4,860 leagues from our starting-point. In the 
morning, when I went on the platform, I saw two miles 
to windward, Hawaii, the largest of the seven islands that 
form the group. I saw clearly the cultivated ranges, and 
the several mountain chains that run parallel with the 
side, and the volcanoes that overtop Mount-Rea, which 
rise 5,000 yards above the level of the sea. Besides other 
things the nets brought up, were several flabellarise and 
graceful polypi, that are peculiar to that part of the ocean. 
The direction of the Nautilus was still to the southeast. 
It crossed the equator December 1, in 142** longtitude; and 
on the 4th of the same month, after crossing rapidly and 
without anything particular occurring, we sighted the 
Marquesas group. 1 saw, three miles off, at 8** 57' latitude 
south, and 139** 32' west longitude, Martin's beak in 
Nouka-Hiva, the largest of the group that belongs to 
France. I only saw the woody mountains against the 
horizon, because Captain Nemo did not wish to bring the 
ship to the wind. There the nets brought up beautiful 
specimens of fish choryphenes, with azure fins and tails 
like gold, the flesh of which is unrivaled, hologymnoses, 
nearly destitude of scales, but of exquisite flavor; os- 
torhyncs, with the bony jaws, and yellow-tinged thasards, 
as good as bonitos; all fish that would be of use to us. 
After leaving these charming islands protected by th« 
French flag, from the 4th to the 11th of December, the 
Nautilus sailed over about 2,000 miles. This navigation 
was remarkable for the meeting with an immense shoal of 
calmars, near neighbors to the cuttle. The French fish- 
ermen called them hornets; they belong to the cepha- 
lopod class, and to the dibranchial family, that com- 
prehends the cuttles and the argonauts. These animals 
were particularly studied by the students of antiquity, and 
they furnished numerous metaphors to the popular orators, 


as-vfell as excellent dishes for the tables of the rich citizens, 
if one can believe AthenaBUS, a Greek doctor, who lived be- 
fore Galen. It was during the night of the 9th or 10th ol 
December that the Nantilus came across this shoal of 
molluscs, that are peculiarly nocturnal. One could count 
them by millions. They emigrate from the temperate to 
warmer zones, following the track of the herrings and 
sardines. We watched them through the thick crystal 
panes, swimming down the wind with great rapidity, 
moving by means of their locomotive tube, pursuing fish 
and molluscs, eating the little ones, eaten by the big ones, 
and tossing about in indescribable confusion the ten arms 
that nature has placed on their heads like a crest of 
pneumatic serpents. The Nautilus, in spite of its speed. 
Mailed for several hours in the midst of these animals, and' 
its nets brought in an enormous quantity, among which I 
recognized the nine species that D'Orbigny classed for the 
Pacific. One saw, while crossing, that the sea displays the 
most wonderful sights. They were in endless variety. 
The scene changed continually, and we were called upon 
not only to contemplate the works of the Creator in the 
midst of the liquid element, but to penetrate the awful 
mysteries of the ocean. 

During the daytime of the 11th of December, I was busy 
reading in the large drawing-room. Ned Land and Con- 
seil watched the luminous water through the half-open 
panels. The Nautilus was immovable. While its reser- 
voirs were filled, it kept at a depth of l,OjOO yards, a region 
rarely visited in the ocean, and in which large fish were 
seldom seen. 

I was then reading a charming book by Jean Mace, 
" The Slaves of the Stomach," and I was learning some 
valuable lessons from it, when Conseil interrupted me. 

" Will master come here a moment?" he said, in a 
curious voice. 

*' What is the matter, Conseil?" 

" I want master to look." t 

I rose, went and leaned on my elbows before the panes, 
and watched. 

In a full electric light an enormous black mass, quite 
immovable, was suspended in the midst of the waters. I 
watched it attentively, seeking to find out the nature of 


this gigantic cetacean. But a sudden thought crossed my 
mind. ** A vessel!" I said, half aloud. 

" Yes," replied the Canadian, " a disabled ship that has 
sunk perpendicularly." 

Ned Land was right; we were close to a vessel of which 
the tattered shrouds still hung from their chains. The 
keel seemed to be in good order, and it had been wrecked 
at most some few years. Three stumps of masts, broken 
off about two feet above the bridge, showed that the vessel 
had had to sacri6ce its masts. But, lying on its side, it 
had filled, and it was heeling over to port. This skeleton 
of what it had once been was a sad spectacle as it lay lost 
under the waves; but sadder still was the sight of the 
bridge, where some corpses, bound with ropes, were still 
lying. I counted five — four men, one of whom was stand- 
ing at the helm, and a woman standing by the poop hold- 
ing an infant in her arms. She was quite young. I could 
distinguish her features, which the water had not decom- 
posed, by the brilliant light from the Nautilus. In one 
despairing effort, she had raised her infant above her head, 
poor little thing! whose arms encircled its mother's neck. 
The attitude of the four sailors was frightful, distorted as 
they were by their convulsive movements, whilst making 
a last effort to free themselves from the cords that bound 
them to the vessel. The steersman alone, calm, with a 
grave clear face, his gray hair glued to his forehead, and 
his hand clutching the wheel of the helm, seemed even 
then to be guiding the three broken masts through the 
depths of the ocean. 

What a scene! We were dumb; our hearts beat fast 
before this shipwreck, taken, as it were from life, and 
photographed in its last moments. And 1 saw already, 
coming toward it with hungry eyes, enormous sharks 
attracted by the human flesh. 

However, the Nautilus, turning, went round the sub- 
merged vessel, and in one instant I read on the stern, 
" The Florida, Sunderland." 




This terrible spectacle was the forerunner of the series 
of maritime catastrophes that the Nautilus was destined 
to meet with in its route. As long as it went through 
more frequented waters, we often saw the hulls of ship- 
wrecked vessels that were rotting in the depths, and, 
deeper down, cannons, bullets, anchors, chains, and a thou- 
sand other iron materials eaten up by rust. However, on 
the 11th of December we sighted the Pomotou Islands, 
the old '' dangerous group of Bougainville, that extend 
over a space of 500 leagues at E.S.E. to W.N.W., from the 
Island Ducie to that of Lazareff. This group covers an 
area of 370 square leagues, and is formed of sixty groups of 
islands, among which the Gambler group are remarkable, 
over which France exercises sway. These are coral islands, 
slowly raised, but continuous, created by the daily work 
of polypi. Then this new island will be joined later on to 
the neighboring groups, and a fifth continent will stretch 
from New Zealand and New Caledonia, and from thence 
to the Marquesas. 

One day, when I was suggesting this theory to Captain 
Nemo, he replied, coldly: 

" The earth does not want new continents, but nevr 

Chance had conducted the Nautilus toward the island 
of Clermont- Tonnerre, one of the most curious of the group 
that was discovered in 1823 by Captain Bell of the Mi- 
nerva. I could study now the madreporal system, to 
which are due the islands in this ocean. 

Madrepores (which must not be mistaken for corals) 
have a tissue lined with a calcareous crust, and the moai- 
fications of its structure have induced M. Milne-Edwards, 
my worthy master, to class them into five sections. Tlie 
animalculse that the marine polypus secretes live by mill- 
ions at the bottom of their cells. Their calcareous de- 
posits become rocks, reefs, and large and small islands. 
Here they form a ring, surrounding a little inland hike, 
that communicates with the sea by means of gaps. There 


they make barriers of reefs like those on the coasts of New 
Caledonia and the various Pomotou islands. In other 
places, like those at Reunion and at Maurice, they raise 
fringed reefs, high, straight walls, near which the depth 
of the ocean is considerable. 

Some cable-lengths off the shores of the islands of Cler- 
mont, I admired the gigantic work accomplished by these 
microscopical workers. These walls are specially the work 
of those madrepores, known as milleporas, porites, madre- 
pores, and astraeas. The polypi are found particularly in 
the rough beds of the sea, near the surface; and conse- 
quently it is from the upper part that they begin their 
operations in which they bury themselves by degrees with 
the debris of the secretions that support them. Such is, 
at leas*, Darwin's theory, who thus explains the formation 
of atolls, a superior theory (to my mind) to that given of 
the foundation of the madreporical works, summits of 
mountains or volcanoes that are submerged some feet be- 
low the level of the sea. 

I could observe closely these curious walls, for perpen- 
dicularly they were more than 300 yards deep, and our 
electric sheets lighted up this calcareous matter brilliantly. 
Replying to a question Conseil asked me as to the time 
these colossal barriers took to be raised, I astonished him 
much by telling him that learned men reckoned it about 
the eighth of an inch in a hundred years. 

Toward evening Clermont-Tonnerre was lost in the 
distance, and the route of the Nautilus was sensibly 
changed. After having crossed the tropic of Capricorn in 
135° longitude, it sailed W.N.W., making again for the 
tropical zone. Although the summer sun was very strong, 
we did not suffer from heat, for at fifteen or twenty fath- 
oms below the surface, the temperature did not rise from 
ten to twelve degrees. 

On December 15, we left to the east the bewitching 
group of Societies and the graceful Tahiti, queen of the 
Pacific. I saw in the morning, some miles to the wind- 
ward, the elevated summit of this island. These waters 
furnished our table with excellent fish, mackerel, bonifcos 
and albicores, and some varieties of a sea-serpent called 

On the 25th of December the Nautilus sailed into the 
midst flkf ^^^ New Hebrides, discovered by Quires in 1606, 


and that Bougainville explored in 1768, and to which 
Cook gave its present name in 1773. This group is com- 
posed principally of nine large islands, that form a band 
of 120 leagues N.KE. to S.S.W., between 15° and 2° 
south latitude, and 164° and 168° longitude. We passed 
tolerably near to the island of Aurou, that at noon looked 
like a mass of green woods surmounted by a peak of great 

That day being Christmas Day, Ned Land seemed to 
regret solely the non- celebration of "Christmas," the 
family f^te of which Protestants are so fond. I had not 
seen Captain Nemo for a week when, on the morning of 
the 27th, he came into the large drawing-room, always 
seeming as if he had seen you five minutes before. I was 
busily tracing the route of the Nautilus on the planisphere. 
The Captain came up to me, put his finger on one spot on 
the chart, and said this single word: 


The effect was magical! It was the name of the islands 
on which La Perouse had been lost! I rose suddenly. 
*' The Nautilus had brought us to Vanikoro?" I asked. 

" Yes, Professor, ".said the Captain. 

" And I can visit the celebrated islands where the Bous- 
sole and the Astrolabe struck?" 

" If you like, Professor." 

'* When shall we be there?'* 

" We are there now." 

Followed by Captain Nemo, I went up on to the plat- 
form, and greedily scanned the horizon. 

To the N.E. two volcanic islands emerged, of unequal 
size, surrounded by a coral reef that measured forty miles 
in circumference. 

We were close to Vanikoro, really the one to which 
Dumont d'Urville gave the name of Isle de la Eecherche, 
and exactly facing the little harbor of Vanou, situated in 
16" 4' south latitude, and 164« 32' east longitude. The 
earth seemed covered with verdure from the shore to the 
summits in the interior, that were crowned by Mount 
Kapogo, 476 feet high. The Nautilus, having passed the 
outer belt of rocks by a narrow strait, found itself among 
breakers where the sea was from thirty to forty fathoms 
deep. Under the verdant shade of some mangroves I per- 
ceived some savages, who appeared greatly surprised at 


our approach. In the long black body, moving between 
wind and water, did they not see some formidable cetacean 
that they regarded with suspicion? 

Just then Captain Nemo asked me whac I knew about 
the wreck of La Perouse. 

" Only what every one knows, Captain," I replied. 

" And could you tell me what every one knows about 
it?" he inquired, ironically. '* Easily." 

I related to him all that the last works of Dumont 
d'Urville had made known — works from which the follow- 
ing is a brief account: 

La Perouse, and his second, Captain de Langle, were 
sent by Louis XVL, in 1785, on a voyage of circumnavi- 
gation. They embarked in the corvettes the Boussole and 
the Astrolabe, neither of which were again heard of. In 
1791 the French government, justly uneasy as to the fate 
of these two sloops, manned two large merchantmen, the 
Recherche and the Esperance, which, left Brest the 28th 
of September, under the command of Bruni d'Entrecas- 

Two months after, they learned from Bowen, com- 
mander of the Albemarle, that .the debris of ship- 
wrecked vessels had been seen on the coast of New 
Georgia. But D'Eutrecasteaux, ignoring this communi- 
cation — rather uncertain, besides — directed his course 
toward the Admiralty Isles, mentioned in a report of 
Captain Hunter's as being the place where La Perouse was 

They sought in vain. The Esperance and the Kecherche 
passed before Vanikoro without stopping there, and in 
fact this voyage was most disastrous, as it cost D'Eutre- 
casteaux his life, and those of two of his lieutenants, 
besides several of his crew. 

Captain Dillon, a shrewd old Pacific sailor, was the first 
to find unmistakable traces of the wrecks. On the I5th 
of May, 18.24, his vessel, the St. Patrick, passed close to 
Tikopia, one of the New Hebrides. There a Lascar came 
alongside in a canoe, sold him the handle of a sword in 
silver, that bore the print of characters engraved on the 
hilt. The Lascar pretended that six years before, during 
a stay at Vanikoro, he had seen two Europeans that 
belonged to some vessels that had run aground on the reef» 
gome years ago. 


Dillon guessed that he meant La Perouse, whose disap- 
pearance had troubled the whole world. He tried to get 
on to Vanikoro, where, according to the Lascar, he would 
find numerous debris of the wreck, but winds and tide 
prevented him. 

Dillon returned to Calcutta. There he interested the 
Asiatic Society and the Indian Company in his discovery. 
A vessel, to which was given the name of Eecherche, was 
put at his disposal, and he set out, January 23, 1827, 
accompanied by a French agent. 

The Eecherche, after touching at several points in the 
Pacific, cast anchor before Vanikoro, July 7, 1827, in this 
same harbor of Vanou, where the^ Nautilus was at this 

There it collected numerous relics of the wreck — iron 
utensils, anchors, pulley-strops, swivel-guns, an 18 lb. 
shot, fragments of astronomical instruments, a piece of 
crown work, and a bronze clock, bearing this inscription 
— " Bazin Jii'afait," the mark of the foundry of the 
arsenal at Brest about 1785. There could be no further 

Dillon, having made all inquiries, stayed in the unlucky 
place till October. Then he quitted Vanikoro, and di- 
rected his course toward New Zealand; put into Calcutta, 
April 7, 1828, and returned to France, where he was 
warmly welcomed by Charles X. 

But at the same time, without knowing Dillon's move- 
ments, Dumont d'Urville had already set out to find the 
scene of the wreck. And they had learned from a whaler 
that some medals and a cross of St. Louis had been found 
in the hands of some savages of Louisiade and New Cale- 
donia. Dumont d'Urville, commander of the Astrolabe 
had then sailed, and two months after Dillon had left Vani- 
koro he put into Hobart Town. There he learned the 
results of Dillon's inquiries, and found that a certain 
James Hobbs, second lieutenant of the Union of Calcutta, 
after landing on an island situated 8° 18' south latitude, 
and 156*^ 30' east longitude, had seen some iron bars and 
red stuffs used by the natives of these parts. Dumont 
d'Urville, much perplexed, and not knowing how to credit 
the reports of low-class journals, decided to follow Dillon's 

On the 10th of February, 1828, Astrolabe appeared off 

102 20,000 LEAGUES UNDEli THE SEAS. 

Tikopia, and took as guide and interpreter a deserter 
found on the island; made his way to Vanikoro, sighted 
it on the 13th inst., lay among the reefs until the 14th, 
and not until the 20tii did he cast anchor within the bar- 
rier in the harbor of Vanou. 

On the 23d, several officers went round the island, and 
brought back some unimportant trifles. The natives, 
adopting a system of denials and evasions, refused to take 
them to the unlucky place. This ambiguous conduct led 
them to believe that the natives had ill-treated the cast- 
aways, and indeed they seemed to fear that Dumont d'Ur- 
ville had come to avenge La Perouse and his unfortunate 

However, on the 26tb, appeased by some presents, and 
understanding that they had no reprisals to fear, they led 
M. Jacquireot to the scene of the wreck. 

There, in three or four fathoms of water, between the 
reef of Pacou and Vanou, lay anchors, cannons, pigs of 
lead and iron, imbedded in the limy concretions. The 
large boat and the whaler belonging to the Astrolabe, 
were sent to this place, and, not without some difficulty, 
their crews hauled up an anchor weighing 1,800 lbs., a 
brass gun, some pigs of iron, and two copper swivel-guns. 

Dumont d'Urville, questioning the natives, learned, too, 
that La Perouse, after losing both his vessels on the reefs 
of this island, had constructed a smaller boat, only to be 
lost a second time. Where? — no one knew. 

But the French government, fearing that Dumont 
d'Urville was not acquainted with Dillon's movements, had 
sent the sloop Bayonnaise, commanded by Legoarant de 
Tromelin to Vanikoro, which had been stationed on the 
west coast of America. The Bayonnaise cast her anchor 
before Vanikoro some months after the departure of the 
Astrolabe, but found no new document; but stated that 
the savages respected the monument to La Perouse. That 
is the substance of what I told to Captain Nemo. 

" So," he said, "no one knows now where the third 
vessel perished that was constructed by the castaways on 
the island of Vanikoro?" 

'' No one knows." 

Captain Nemo said nothing, but signed to me to follow 
him into the large saloon. The Nautilus sank several yards 
l^elows the waves, and the panels opened. 


I hastened to the aperture, and under the crustations of 
coral, covered with fungi, syphonnles, alcyons, madrepores, 
through myriads of charming fish — girelles, glyphisdri, 
pompherides, diucopes, and holocentres — I recognized cer- 
tain debris that the drags had not been able to tear up; 
iron stirrups, anchors, cannons, bullets, capstan-fittings, 
the stem of a ship — all objects clearly proving the wreck 
of some vessel, and now carpeted with living flowers. 
Wliile I was looking on this desolate scene. Captain Nemo 
said, in a sad voice: 

*' Commander La Perouse set out December 7, 1785, 
with his vessels La Bousolle and the Astrolabe. He first 
cast anchor at Botany Bay, visited the Friendly Isle, New 
Caledonia, then directed his course toward Santa Cruz, and 
put into Namouka, one of the Hapai group. Then this 
vessel struck on the unknown reefs of Vanikoi'o. The 
Bousolle, which went first, ran aground on the southerly 
coast. The Astrolabe went to its help, and ran aground 
too. The first vessel was destroyed almost immediately. 
The second, stranded under the wind, resisted some days. 
The natives made the castaways welcome. They installed 
themselves in the island, and constructed a smaller boat 
with the debris of the two large ones. Some sailors stayed 
willingly at Vanikoro, the others, weak and ill, set out 
with La Perouse. They directed their course toward the 
Solomon Isles, and there perished, with everything, on the 
westerly coast of the chief island of the group between 
Capes Deception and Satisfaction." 

"How do you know that?" 

" By this, that I found on the spot where was the last 

Captain Nemo showed me a tin-plate box, stamped with 
the French arms, and corroded by the salt water. He 
opened it, and I saw a bundle of papers, yellow, but still 

They were the instructions of the naval minister to Com- 
mander La Perouse, annotated in the margin in Louis 
XVL's handwriting. 

" Ah! it is a fine death for a sailor!" said Captain Nemo, 
at last. " A coral tomb makes a quiet grave; and I trust 
that I and my comrades will find no other." 




During the night of the 27th or 28th of December, the 
Nautilus left the shores of Vanikoro with great speed. 
Her course was southwesterly, and in three days she had 
gone over the 750 leagues that separated it from La Pe- 
rouse's group, heading a southeast point of Papua. 

Early on tiie 1st of January, 1868, Conseil joined me 
on the platform. 

•'* Master, will yoci permit me to wish you a happy new 

"What! Conseil; exactly as if I was at Paris in my 
study at the Jardin des Plantes? Well, I accept your good 
wishes, and thank you for them. Only, I will ask you 
what you mean by a ' Happy new year,' under our cir- 
cumstances? Do you mean the year that will bring ue to 
the end of our imprisonment, or the year that sees us 
continue this strange voyage?" 

** Really, I do not know how to answer, master. We 
are sure to see curious things, and for the last two months 
we have not had time for ennui. The last marvel is al- 
ways the most astonishing; and if we continue this pro- 
gression, I do not know how it will end. It is my opinion 
that we shall never again see the like. I think, then, with 
no offense to master, that a happy year would be one in 
which we could see everything." 

On January 2, we had made 11,340 miles, or 5,250, 
Erench leagues, since our starting point in the Japan seas. 
Before the ship's head stretched the dangerous shores of 
the coral sea, on the northeast coast of Australia. Our 
boat lay along some miles from the redoubtable bank on 
which Cook's vessel was lost, June 10, 1770, The boat 
in which Cook Avas struck on a rock, and if it did not 
sink, it was owing to a piece of the coral that was broken 
by the shock, and fixed itself in the broken keel. 

I had wished to visit the reef, 360 leagues long, against 
which the sea, always rough, broke with great violence, 
with a noise like thunder." But just at this moment the 
inclined planes drew the Nautilus down to a great depth, 
and I could see nothing of the high coral walls. I had to 


content myself with the different specimens of fish brought 
up by the nets. I remarked, among others, some germons, 
a species of mackerel as large as a tunny, with bluish sides, 
and striped with transverse bands, that disappear with the 
animal's life. These fish followed us in shoals, and 
furnished us with very delicate food. We took also a 
large number of giltheads, about one and a half inches 
long, tasting like dorys; and flying pyrapeds like submarine 
swallows, which, in dark nights, light alternately the air 
and w-atev with their phosphorescent light. Among the 
molluscs and zoophytes, I found in the meshes of the net 
several species of alcyonarians, echini, hammers, spurs, 
dials, cerites, and hyalleae. The flora was represented by 
beautiful floating sea-weeds, laminarise, and macrocystcs, 
impregnated with mucilage that transudes through their 
pores; and among which I gathered an admirable Nema- 
stoma Geliniarois, that was classed among the natural 
curiosities of the museum. 

Two days after crossing the coral sea, January 4, we 
sighted the Papuan coasts. On this occasion. Captain 
Nemo informed me that his intention was to get into the 
Indian Ocean by the Straits of Torres. His communication 
ended there. 

The Ton-es Straits are nearly thirty-four leagues wide; 
but they are obstructed by an innumerable quantity of 
islands, islets, breakers, and rocks, that make its navigation 
almost impracticable; so that Captain Nemo took all need- 
ful precautions to cross them. The Nautilus, floating 
betwixt wind and water, went at a moderate pace. Her 
screw, like a cetacean's tail, beat the waves slowly. 

Profiting by this, I and my two companions went up on 
the deserted platform. Before us was the steersman's cage, 
and I expected that Captain Nemo was there directing the 
course of the Nautilus. I had before me the excellent 
charts of the Straits of Torres, made out by the hydro- 
graphical engineer Vincendon Dumoulin. These and Cap- 
tain King's are the best charts that clear the intricacies of 
this strait, and I consulted them attentively. Round the 
Nautilus the sea dashed furiously. The course of the 
waves, that went from southeast to northwest at the rate 
of two and a half miles, broke on the coral that showed 
itself here and*there. 

"This is a bad sea!" remarked Ned Land. 


'* Detestable indeed, and one that does not suit a boaii 
like the Nautilus." 

^'The captain must be very sure of his route, for I see 
there pieces of coral that would do for its keel if it only 
touched them slightly." 

Indeed the situation was dangerous; but the Nautilus 
seemed to slide like magic off these rocks. It did not fol- 
low the routes of the Astrolabe and the Zelee exactly, for 
they proved fatal to Dumont d'Urville. It bore more 
northward, coasted the'Island of Murray, and came back 
to the southwest towar.d Cumberland Passage. I thought 
it was going to pass it by, when, going back to northwest, 
it went through a large quantity of islands and inlets little 
known, toward the Island Sound and Canal Mauvais. 

I wondered if Captain Nemo, foolishly imprudent, would 
steer his vessel into that pass where Dumont d'Urville's 
two corvettes touched; when, swerving again, and cutting 
straigiit through to the west, he steered for the Island of 

It was then three in the afternoon. The tide began to 
recede, being quite full. The Nautilus approached the 
island, that I still saw, with its remarkable border of 
screw-pines. He stood off at a'bout two miles distant. 
Suddenly a shock overthrew me. The Nautilus just 
touched a rock, and stayed immorable, laying lightly to 
port side. 

When I rose, I perceived Captain Nemo and his lieu- 
tenant on the platform. They were examining the situa- 
tion of the vessel, and exchanging words in their incom- 
prehensible dialect. 

She was situated thus: two miles, on the starboard side 
appeared Gilboa, stretching from north to west like an 
immense arm; toward the south and east some coral showed 
itself, left by the ebb. "We had run aground, and in one 
of those seas where the tides are middling — a sorry matter 
for the floating of the Nautilus. However, the vessel had 
not suffered, for her keel was solidly joined. But if she 
could neither glide off nor move, she ran the risk of being 
forever fastened to these rocks, and then Captain Nemo's 
submarine vessel would be done for, 

I was reflecting thus, when the Captain, cool and calm, 
always master of himself, approached me. • 

"An accident?" I asked. 

20,000 LEAGUES UKt)ER TttE SEAS. 107 

**'No; an incident." 

" But an incident that will oblige you perhaps to become 
an inhabitant of this land from which you flee?" 

Captain Nemo looked at me curiously, and made a 
negative gesture, as much as to say that nothing would 
force him to set foot on terra firma again. Then he 

"Besides, M. Aronnax, the Nautilus is not lost; it 
■will carry you yet into the midst of the marvels of the 
ocean. Our voyage is only begun, and I do not wish to 
be deprived so soon of the honor of your company." 

" However, Captain Nemo," I replied, without noticing 
the ironical turn of his phrase, " the Nautilus ran aground 
in open sea. Now the tides are not strong in the Pacific, 
and if you cannot lighten the Nautilus, I do not see how 
it will be reinflated." 

" The tides are not strong in the Pacific; you are right 
there, Professor; but in Torres Straits one finds still a 
difference of a yard and a half between the level of high 
and low seas. To-day is January 4, and in five days the 
moon will be full. Now, I shall be very much astonished 
if that complaisant satellite does not raise these masses of 
water sufficiently, and rendier me a service that I should 
be indebted to her for." 

Having said this. Captain Nemo, followed by his lieu- 
tenant, re-descended to the interior of the Nautilus. As 
to the vessel, it moved not, and was immovable, as if the 
coralline polypi had already walled it up with their inde- 
structible cement. 

" Well, sir?" said Ned Land, who came up to me after 
the departure of the Captain. 

"Well, friend Ned, we will wait patiently for the tide 
on the 9th instant; for it appears that the moon will have 
the goodness to put it off again." 

" Keally?" 


"And this Captain is not going to cast anchor at all, 
since the tide will suffice," said Conseil, simply. 

The Canadian looked at Conseil, then shrugged his 

" Sir, you may believe me when I tell you that this 
piece of iron will navigate neither on nor under the sea 
again; it is only fit to be sold for its weight. I think, 


therefore, that the time has come to part company with 
Captain Nemo." 

" Friend Ned, I do not despair of this stout Nautilus, 
as you do; and in four days we shall know what to hold to 
on the Pacific tides. Besides, flight might be possible if 
we were in sight of the English or Proven9al coasts; but 
on the Papuan shores it is another thing; and it will be 
time enough to come to that extremity if the Nautilus does 
not recover itself again, which I look upon as a grave 

" But do they know, at least, how to act circumspectly? 
There is an island; on that island there are trees; under 
those trees, terrestrial animals, bearers of cutlets and 
roast-beef, to which I would willingly give a trial." 

"In this, friend Ned is right," said Conseil, "and I 
agree with him. Could not master obtain permission 
from his friend Captain Nemo to put us on land, if only 
80 as not to lose the habit of treading on the solid parts of 
our planet?" 

"I can ask him, but he will refuse." 

"Will master risk it?" asked Conseil, "and we shall 
know how to rely upon the Captain's amiability." 

To my great surprise Captain Nemo gave me the per- 
mission I asked for, and gave it very agreeably, without 
even exacting from me a promise to return to the vessel; 
but flight across New Guinea might be very perilous, and 
I should not have counseled Ned Land to attempt it. 
Better to be a prisoner on board the Nautilus than to fall 
into the hands of the natives. 

At eight o'clock, armed with guns and hatchets, we got 
off the Nautilus. The sea was pretty calm; a slight breeze 
blew on land. Conseil and I rowing, we sped along 
quickly, and Ned steered in the straight passage that the 
breakers left between them. The boat was well handled, 
and moved rapidly. 

Ned Land could not restrain his joy. He was like a 
prisoner that had escaped fi-om prison, and knew not that 
it was necessary to re-enter it. 

" Meat! We are going to eat some meat; and what 
meat!" he replied. " Real game! no bread, indeed." 

"I do not say that fish is not good; we must not abuse 
it; but a piece of fresh venison grilled on live coals will 
agreeably vary our ordinary course." 


"Gourmand!" said Conseilj' "he makes my mouth 

"It remains to be seen," I said, " if these forests are 
full of game and if the game is not such as will hunt the 
hunter himself." 

" Well said, M. Aronnax," replied the Canadian, whose 
teeth seemed sliarpened like the edge of a hatchet; '* but I 
will eat tiger — loin of tiger — if there is no other quadruped 
on this island." 

" Friend Ned is uneasy about it," said Conseil. 

"Whatever it may be," continued Ned Land, "every 
animal with four paws without feathers, or with two paws 
without feathers, will be saluted by my first shot." 

"Very well! Master Land's imprudences are begin- 

" Never fear, M. Aronnax," replied the Canadian, "I 
do not want twenty-five minutes to offer you a dish of my 

At half past eight the Nautilus' boat ran softly aground, 
on a heavy sand, after having happily passed the cor^ 
reef that surrounds the Island of Gilboa. 



I WAS much impressed on touching land. Ned Land 
tried the soil with his feet, as if to take possession of 
it. However, it was only two months before that we had 
become, according to Captain Nemo, "passengers on 
board the Nautilus," but, in reality, prisoners of its com- 

In a few minutes we were within musket-shot of the 
coast. The soil was almost entirely madreporical, but 
certain beds of dried-up torrents strewn with debris of 
granite showed that this island was of the primary 
formation. The whole horizon was hidden behind a beau- 
tiful curtain of forests. Enormous trees, the trunks 
of which attained a height of 200 feet, were tied to each 
other by garlands of bindweed, real natural hammocks, 
•which a light breeze rocked. They were mimosas, ficuses, 
casuarinae, teks, hibisci, and palm-trees, mingled together 


in profusion; and under the shelter of their verdant yault 
grew orchids, leguminous plants, and ferns. 

But without noticing all these beautiful specimens of 
Papuan flora, the Canadian abandoned the agreeable for the 
useful. He discovered a cocoa-tree, knocked down some 
of the fruit, broke them, and we drunk the milk and ate 
the nut with a satisfaction that protested against the or- 
dinary food on the Nautilus. 

''Excellent!" said Ned Land. 

"Exquisite!" replied Conseil. 

''And I do not think," said the Canadian, "that he 
would object to our introducing a cargo of cocoanuts on 

"I do not think he would, but he would not taste 

" So much the worse for him," said Conseil. 

'* And so much the better for us," replied Ned Land. 
*' There will be more for us." 

" One word only. Master Land," I said to the har- 
pooner, who was beginning to ravage another cocoanut- 
tree. " Cocoanuts are good things, but before filling the 
canoe with them, it would be wise to reconnoiter and see 
if the island does not produce some substance not less 
useful. Fresh vegetables would be welcome on board the 

" Master is right," replied Conseil; '* and I propose to 
reserve three places in our vessel: one for fruits, the other 
for vegetables, and the third for the venison of which I 
have not yet seen the smallest specimen." 

" Conseil, we must not despair," said the Canadian. 

" Let us continue," I returned, " and lie in wait. Al- 
though the island seems uninhabited, it might still con- 
tain some individuals that would be less hard than we on 
the nature of game." 

''Ho! ho!" said Ned Land, moving his jaws signifi- 

" Well, Ned!" cried Conseil. 

" My word !" returned the Canadian, " I begin to under- 
stand the charms of anthropophagy." 

"Ned! Ned! what are you saying? You, a man-eater? 
I should not feel safe with you, especially as I share your 
cabin. I might perhaps wake one day to find myself half 


" Friend Conseil, I like you much, but not enough to 
eat you unnecessarily." 

" I would not trust yon/' replied Conseil. " Bui enough. 
We must absolutely bring down some game t'j'"satisfy thig 
cannibal, or else, one of these fine mornings, master will 
find only pieces of his servant to serve hirn." 

While we wei-e talking thus we were penetrating the 
somber arches of the forest, and for two hours we surveyed 
it in all directions. 

Chance lewarded our search for eatable vegetables, and 
one of the most useful products of the tropical zones fur- 
nished us with precious food that v;e missed on board. I 
would speak of the bread-fruit tree, very abundant in the 
Island of Gilboa; and I remarked chiefly the variety des- 
titute of seeds, which bears in Malaya the name of 
" rima." 

Ned Land knew these fruits well. He had already eaten 
many during his numerous voyages, and he knew how 
to prepare the eatable substance. Moreover, the sight 
of them excited him, and he could contain himself no 

" Master," he said, *'I shall die if I do not taste a little 
of this bread-fruit pie." 

"Taste it, friend Ned, taste it as you want. We are 
here to make experiments — make them." 

*^ It won't take long," said the Canadian. 

And provided with a lentil, he lighted a £re of dead 
wood, that crackled joyously. During this time, Conseil 
and I chose the best fruits of the artocarpus. Some had 
not then attained a sufficient degree of maturity, and their 
thick skin covered a white but rather fibrous pulp. Others, 
the greater number yellow and gelatinous, waited only to 
be picked. 

These fruits inclose no kernel. Conseil brought a 
dozen to Ned Land, who placed them on a coal fire, 
after having cut them in thick slices, and while doing this 

** You will see, master, how good this bread is. More 
so when one has been deprived of it so long. It is not 
even bread," added he, "but a delicate pasty. You have 
eaten none, master?" 

"No, Ned." 

■*yery well, prepare yourself for a juicy thing. If you 


do rot come for more, I am no longer the king of har- 

After bome minutes, the part of tlie fruits that was ex- 
posed to the fire was completely roasted. The interior 
looked like a white pasty, a sort of soft crumb, the flavor 
of which was lik.T tliat of an artichoke. 

It must be confessed this bread was excellent, and I ate 
of it with a great relish. 

" What time is it new?" asked the Canadian. 

" Two o'clock at leas :," replied Conseil. 

" How time flies on firm ground!" sighed Ned Land. 

"Let us be ofE," rephed Oonseil. 

We returned through the forest, and completed our col- 
lection by a raid upon the cabbage- palms, that we gather- 
ed from the tops of the trees, little beans that 1 recognized 
as the " abrou " of the Malays, and yams of a superior 

We were loaded when we reached the boat. But Ned 
Land did mot find his provision sufl&cient. Fate, however, 
favored us. Just as we were pushing off, he perceived 
several trees, from twenty-five to thirty feet high, a species 
of palm-tree.' These trees, as valuable as the artocarpus, 
justly are reckoned among the most useful products of 

At last, at five o'clock in the evening, loaded with our 
riches, we quitted the shore, and half an hour after we 
hailed the Nautilus. No one appeared on our arrival, 
n^lie enormous iron-plated cylinder seemed deserted. The 
provisions embarked, I descended to my chamber, and 
after supper slept soundly. 

The next day, January 6th, nothing new on board. Not 
a sound inside, not a sign of life. The boat rested along 
ihe edge, in the same place in which we had left it. We 
resolved to return to the island. Ned Land hoped to be 
more fortunate than on the day before with regard to the 
hunt, and wished to visit another part of the forest. 

At dawn we set off. The boat, carried on by the waves 
mat flowed to shore, reached the island in a few minutes. 

We landed, and thinking that it was better to give in 
to the Canadian, we followed Ned Land, whose long limbs 
threatened to distance us. He wound up the coast toward 
the west; then, fording some torrents, he gained the high 
plain that was bordered with admirable forests. Some 


kingfishers were rambling along the water- courses, but 
they would not let themselves be approached. Their 
circumspection proved to me that these birds knew what 
to expect from bipeds of our species, and I concluded 
that, if the island was not inhabited, at least human 
beings occasionally frequented it. 

After crossing a rather large prairie, we arrived at the 
ttkirt of a little wood that was enlivened by the songs and 
flight of g, large number of birds. 

" There are only birds!" said Conseil. 

** But they are eatable," replied the harpooner. 

" I do not agree with you, friend Ned, for I see [only 
parrots there." 

"Friend Conseil," said Ned, gravely, "the parrot is 
like pheasant to those who have nothing else." 

" And," I added, "■ this bird, suitably prepared, is worth 
knife and fork." 

Indeed, under the thick foliage of this wood, a world of 
parrots were flying from branch to branch, only needing a 
careful education to speak the human language. For the 
moment, they were chattering with parrots of all colors, 
and grave cockatoos, who seemed to meditate upon some 
philosopliical problem, whilst brilliant red lories passed 
like a piece of bunting carried away by the breeze; papu- 
ans, with the finest azure colors, and in all a variety of 
winged things most charming to behold, but few eatable. 

However, a bird peculiar to these lands, and which has 
never passed the limits of the Arrow and Papuan islands, 
was wanting in this collection. But fortune reserved it 
for me before long. 

After passing through a moderately thick copse, we 
found a plain obstructed with bushes. I saw then those 
magnificent birds, the disposition of whose long feathers 
obliges them to fly against the wind. Their undulating 
flight, graceful aerial curves, and the shading of their 
colors, attracted and charmed one's looks. I had no 
trouble in recognizing them. 

'* Birds of Paradise!" I exclaimed. 

The Malays, who carry on a great trade in these birds 
with the Chinese, have several means that we could not 
employ for taking them. Sometimes they put snares at 
the tops of high trees that the birds of Paradise prefer to 
frequent. Sometimes they catch them with a viscous 


bird-lime that paralyzes their movements. They even g« 
so far as to poison the fountains that the birds generally 
drink from. But we were obliged to fire at them during 
flight, which gave us few chances to bring them down, 
and, indeed, we vainly exhausted one-half of our ammu- 

About eleven o'clock in the morning, the first range 
of mountains that form the center of the island was trav- 
ersed, and we had killed nothing. Hunger drove us on. 
The hunters had relied on tlie products of the chase, and 
they were wrong. Happily Conseil, to his great surprise, 
made a double shot, and secured breakfast. He brought 
down a white pigeon and a wood-pigeon, which, cleverly 
plucked and suspended from a skewer, were roasted before a 
red fire of dead wood. Whilst these interesting birds were 
cooking, Ned prepared the fruit of the artocarpus. Then 
the wood- pigeons were devoured to the bones, and declared 
excellent. The nutmeg, with which they are in the habit 
of stuffing their crops, flavors their flesh and renders it 
delicious eating. 

" Now, Ned, what do you miss now?" 

" Some four-footed game, M. Aronnax. All these 
pigeons are only side-dishes and trifles; and until I have 
killed an animal with cutlets, I shall not be content." 

" Nor I, Ned, if I do not catch a bird of Paradise." 

" Let us continue hunting," replied Conseil. " Let us 
go toward the sea. We have arrived at the first declivi- 
ties of the mountains, and I think we had better regain 
the region of forests." 

That was sensible advice, and was followed out. After 
walking for an hour, we had attained a forest of sago 
trees. Some inoffensive serpents glided away from us; 
the birds of Paradise fled at our approach, and truly I 
despaired of getting near one, when Conseil, who was 
walking in front, suddenly bent down, nttered a triumphal 
cry, and came back to me bringing a magnificent speci- 

"Ah! bravo, Conseil!" 

** Master is very good." 

"No, my boy; you have made an excellent stroke. 
Take one of these living birds, and carry it in your hand." 

** If master will examine it, he will see that I have not 
deserved great merit." 

20,000 LEAGUES UNDEli THE SEAS. 115 

"Why, Conseil?" 

** Because this bird is as drunk as a quail." 


*' Yes, sir; drunk with the nutmegs that it devoured 
under the nutmeg tree, under which I found it. See, 
friend Ned, see the monstrous effects of intemperance!" 

*' By Jove!" exclaimed the Canadiiin, " because I have 
drunk gin for two months, you must needs reproach me!" 

However, I examined the curious bird. Conseil was 
right. The bird, drunk with the juice, was quite power- 
less. It could not fly; it could hardly walk. 

This bird belonged to the most beautiful of the eight 
species that are found in Papua and in the neighboring 
islands. It was the 'Marge emerald bird, the most rare 
kind." It measured three feet in length. Its head was 
•omparatively small, its eyes placed near the opening of 
the beak, and also small. But the shades of color were 
beautiful, having a yellow beak, brown feet and claws, 
nut-colored wings with purple tips, pale yellow at the 
back of the neck and head, and emerald color at the throat, 
chestnut on the breast and belly. Two horned downy 
nets rose from below the tail, that prolonged the long light 
feathers of admirable fineness, and they completed the 
whole of this marvelous bird, that the natives have named 
poetically the " bird of the sun." 

But if my wishes were satisfied by the possession of the 
bird of Paradise, the Canadian's were not yet. Happily 
about two o'clock Ned Land brought down a magnificent 
hog, from the brood of those the natives call ' ' bari- 
outang." The animal came in time for us to procure real 
quadruped meat, and he was well received. Ned Land 
was very proud of his shot. The hog, hit by the electric 
ball, fell stone dead. The Canadian skinned and cleaned 
it properly, after having taken half a dozen cutlets, des- 
tined to furnish us with a grilled repast in the evening. 
Then the hunt was resumed, which was still more marked 
by Ned and Conseil's exploits. 

Indeed, the two friends, beating the bushes, roused a 
herd of kangaroos, that fled and bounded along on their 
elastic paws. But these animals did not take flight so 
rapidly but what the electric capsule could stop their 

"Ah, Professor," cried Ned Land, who was carried 


away by the delights of the chase, "what excellent game! 
and stewed, too! What a supply for the Nautilus! two! 
three! five down! And to think that we shall eat that 
flesh, and that the idiots on board shall not have a 

1 think that, in the excess of his joy, the Canadian, if 
he had not talked so much, would have killed them all. 
But he contented himself with a single dozen of tliese in- 
teresting marsupians. These animals were small. They 
were a species of those "kangaroo rabbits" that live habit- 
ually in the hollows of trees, and whose speed is extreme; 
but they are moderately fat, and furnish, at least, estima- 
ble food. We were very satisfied with the results of the 
hunt. Happily Ned proposed to return to this enchant- 
ing island the next day, for he wished to depopulate it of 
all the eatable quadrupeds. But he reckoned without his 

At six o'clock in the evening we had regained the shore; 
our boat was moored to the usual place. The Nautilus, 
like a long rock, emerged from the waves two miles from 
the beach. Ned Land, without waiting, occupied himself 
about the important dinner business. He understood all 
about cooking well. The " bari-outang," grilled on the 
coals, soon scented the air with a delicious odor. 

Indeed, the dinner was excellent. Two wood-pigeons 
completed this extraordinary menu. The sago pasty, the 
artocarpus bread, some mangoes, half a dozen pine-apples, 
and the liquor fermented from some cocoanuts, overjoyed 
us. I even think that my worthy companions' ideas had 
not all the plainness desirable. 

" Suppose we do not return to the Nautilus this even- 
ing?" said Conseil. 

"Suppose we never return?" added Ned Land. 

Just then a stone fell at our feet, and cut short the har- 
pooner's proposition. 



We looked at the edge of the forest without rising, my 
hand stopping in the action of putting it to my mouth, 
Ned Land's completing its office. 


" Stones do not fall from the sky, remarked Conseil, 
"ot they would merit the name of aerolites." 

A second stone, carefully aimed, that made a savory 
pigeon's leg fall from Conseil's hand, gave still more 
weight to his observation. We all three arose, and 
shouldered our guns, and were ready to reply to any at- 

"Are they apes?" cried Ned Land. 

" Very nearly — they are savages." 

" To the boat!" I said, hurrying to the sea. 

It was indeed necessary to beat a retreat, for about 
twenty natives, armed with bows aud slings, appeared on 
the skirts of a copse that masked the horizon to the right, 
hardly a hundred steps from us. 

Our boat was moored about sixty feet from us. The 
savages approached us, not running, but making hostile 
demonstrations. Stones and arrows fell thickly. 

Ned Land had not wished to leave his provisions; and, 
in spite of his imminent danger, his pig on one side, and. 
kangaroos on the other, he went tolerably fast. In two 
minutes we were on the shore. To load the boat with 
provisions and arms, to push it out to sea, and ship the 
oars, was the work of an instant. "We had not gone two 
cable-lengths when a hundred savages, howling and gesti- 
culating, entered the water up to their waists. I watched 
to see if their apparition would attract some men from the 
Nautilus on to the platform. But no. The enormous 
machine, lying off, was absolutely deserted. 

Twenty minutes later we were on board. The panels 
were open. And after making the boat fast, we entered 
into the interior of the Nautilus. 

I descended to tlie drawing-room, from whence I heard 
some chords. Captain Nemo was there, bending over his 
organ, and plunged in a musical ecstasy. "Captain!" 
He did not hear me. "Captain!" I said again, touching 
his hand. 

He shuddered, and turning round, said, "Ah! is it you, 
Professor? Well, have you had a good hunt? Have you 
botanized successfully?" 

" Yes, Captain, but we have unfortunately brought a 
troop of bipeds, whose vicinity troubles me." 

" What bipeds?" 

" Savages." 


''Savages!" he echoed, ironically. "So you are aston- 
ished, Professor, at having set foot on a strange land and 
finding savages? Savages! where are there not any? Be- 
sides, are they worse than others, these whom you call 

*' But, Captain " 

" How many have you counted?" 

" A hundred at least." 

*' M. Aronnax," replied Captain Nemo, placing his 
fingers on the organ stops, " when all the natives of Papua 
are assembled on this'shore, the Nautilus will have nothing 
to fear from their attacks." 

The Captain's fingers were then running over the keys 
of the instrument, and I remarked that he touched only 
the black keys, which gave to his melodies an essentially 
Scotch character. Soon he had forgotten my presence, 
and had plunged into a reverie that I did not disturb. I 
went up again on to the platform — night had already 
fallen; for, in this low latitude, the sun sets rapidly and 
without twilight. I could only see the island indistinct- 
ly; but the numerous fires lighted on the beach showed 
that the natives did not tiiink of leaving it. I was alone 
for several hours, sometimes thinking of the natives — but 
without any dread of tlicra, for the imperturbable con- 
fidence of the Captain was catching — sometimes forgetting 
them to admire the splendors of the niglit in the tropics. 
My remembrances went to France, in the strain of those 
zodiacal stars that would shine in some hours' time. The 
moon shone in the midst of the constellations of the 

Tli« night slipped away without any mischance, the 
islanders frightened, no doubt, at the sight of a mon- 
ster aground in the bay. The panels were open, and 
would have offered an easy access to the interior of the 

At six o'clock in the morning of the 8th of January I 
went up on to the platform. The dawn was breaking. 
The island soon showed itself through the dissipating fogs 
— first the shore then the summits. 

The natives were there, more numerous than on the day 
before — 500 or 600 perhaps. Some of them, profiting by 
the low water, had come on to the coral at less than two 
cable-lengths from the Nautilus. I distinguished them 


easily; they were true Papuans, with athletic figures; men 
of good race, large high foreheads — large, but not broad, 
and flat — and white teeth. Their woolly hair, with a red- 
dish tinge, showed off on their black, shining bodies like 
those of the Nubians. From the lobes of their ears, cut 
and distended, hung chaplets of bones. Most of these 
savages were naked. Amongst them I remarked some 
women dressed from the hips to the knees in quite a crin- 
oline of herbs that sustained a vegetable waistband. Some 
chiefs had ornamented their necks with a crescent and 
collars of glass beads, red and white; nearly all were armed 
with bows, arrows, and shields, and carried on their 
shoulders a sort of net containing those round stones which 
they cast from their slings with great skill. One of these 
chiefs, rather near to the Nautilus, examined it attentive- 
ly. He was, perhaps, a " mado" of high rank, for he war 
draped in a mat of banana leaves notched round the edges 
and set off with brilliant colors. 

I could easily have knocked down this native, who was 
within a short length; but I thought that it was better to 
wait for real hostile demonstrations. Between Europeans 
and savages it is proper for the Europeans to parry sharply, 
not to attack. 

During low water the natives roamed about near the 
Nautilus, but were not troublesome. I heard them fre- 
quently repeat the word '' Assai," and by their gestures I 
understood that they invited me to go on land, an invita- 
tion that I declined. 

So that, on that day, the boat did not push off, to the 
great displeasure of Master Land, who could not complete 
his provisions. 

This adroit Canadian employed his time in preparing 
the viands and meat that he had brought off the island. 
As for the savages, they returned to the shore abouteleven 
o'clock in the morning, as soon as the coral tops began to 
disappear under the rising tide; but I saw their numbers 
had increased considerably on the shore. Probably they 
came from the neighboring islands, or very likely from 
Papua. However, I had not seen a single native canoe. 
Having nothing better to do, I thought of dragging these 
beautiful limpid waters, under which I saw a profusion of 
shells, zoophytes, and marine plants. Moreover, it was 
the last day that the Nautilus would pass in these parts, 


if it float in open sea the next day, according to Captain 
Nemo's promise. 

I therefore called Conseil, who brought me a little light 
drag, very like those for the oyster-fisliery, Now to work! 
For two hours we fished unceasingly, but without bringing 
up any rarities. The drag was filled with midas-ears, 
harps, melames, and particularly the most beautiful ham- 
mers I have ever seen. We also brought up some holo- 
thurias, pearl-oysters, and a dozen little turtles, that were 
reserved for the pantry on board. 

But just when I expected it least, I put my hand on a 
wonder, I might say a natural deformity, very rarely met 
with. Conseil Was just dragging, and his net came up 
filled with divers ordinary shells, when, all at once, he saw 
me plunge my arm quickly into the net, to draw out a 
shell, and heard me utter a conchological cry, that is to 
say, the most piercing cry that human throat can utter. 

'* What is the matter, sir?" he asked, in surprise; *' has 
master been bitten?" 

" No, my boy; but I would willingly have given a finger 
for my discovery." 

** What discovery?" 

'* This shell," I said, holding up the object of my 

"It is simply an olive porphyry, genus olive, order of 
the pectini-branchidse, class of gasteropods, sub- class of 

**Yes, Conseil; but instead of being rolled from right 
to left, this olive turns from left to right." 

" Is it possible?" 

"Yes, my boy; it is a left-handed shell." 

Shells are all right-handed, with rare exceptions; and 
when by chance their spiral is left, amateurs are ready to 
pay their weight in gold. 

Conseil and I were absorbed in the contemplation of our 
treasure, and I was promising myself to enrich the mu- 
seum with it, when a stone, unfortunately thrown by a 
native, struck against and broke the precious object in 
Conseil's hand. I uttered a cry of despair! Conseil took 
up his gun, and aimed at a savage who was poising ht& 
sling at ten yards from him. I would have stopped him, 
but his blow took effect, and. broke the bracelet of amulets 
which encircled the arm of the savage. 


"Conseil!" cried I; "Conseill" 

'* Well, sir, do you not see that the cannibal has com- 
menced the attack?" 

" The shell is not worth the life of a man," said I. 

'*Ah! the scoundrel!" cried Conseil; "I would rather 
he had broken my shoulder!" 

Conseil was in earnest, but I was not of his opinion. 
However, the situation had been changed some minutes 
before, and we had not perceived. A score of canoes sur- 
rounded the Nautilus. These canoes, scooped out of the 
trunk of a tree, long, narrow, well adapted for speed, 
were balanced by means of a long bamboo pole, which 
floated on the water. They were managed by skillful, 
half-naked paddlers, and I watched their advance with 
some uneasiness. It was evicjlent that these Papuans had 
already had dealings with the Europeans, and knew their 
ships. But this long iron cylinder anchored in the bay, 
without masts or chimney, what could they think of it? 
Nothing good, for at first they kept at a respectful dis- 
tance. However, seeing it motionless, by degrees they 
took courage and sought to familiarize themselves with it. 
Now this familiarity was precisely what it was necessary 
to avoid. Our arms, which were noiseless, could only 
produce a moderate effect on the savages, who have little 
respect for aught but blustering [things. The thunder- 
bolt without the reverberations of thunder would frighten 
man but little, though the danger lies in the lightning, 
not in the noise. 

At this moment the canoes approached the Nautilus, 
and a shower of arrows alighted on her. 

I went down to the saloon, but found no one there. I 
ventured to knock at the door that opened into the Cap- 
tain's room. "Come in," was the answer. 

I entered and found Captain Nemo deep in algebraical 
calculations of x and other quantities. 

" I am disturbing you," said I, for courtesy's sake. 

*' That is true, M. Aronnax," replied the Captain, *'but 
I think you have serious reasons for wishing to see me." 

''Very grave ones; the natives are surrounding us in 
their canoes, and in a few minutes we shall certainly be 
attacked by many hundreds of savages." 

*'Ah!" said Captain Nemo, quietly, "they are come 
with their canoes?" 


"Yes, sir." 

"Well, sir, we must close the hatches." 

"Exactly, and I came to say to you- 

" Nothing can be more simple," said Captain Nemo. 
And pressing an electric button he transmitted an order to 
the ship's crew. 

**It is all done, sir," said he, after some moments. 
** The pinnace is read}'', and the hatches are closed. You 
(Slo Dot fear, I imagine, that these gentlemen could stave 
in walls on which the balls of your frigate have had no 

" No, Captain; but danger still exists." 

" What is that, sir?" 

" It is that to-morrow, at about this hour, we must 
open the hatches to renew the air of the Nautilus. Now 
if, at this moment, the Papuans should occupy the plat- 
form, I do not see how you could prevent trhem from 

" Then, sir, you suppose that they will board us?" 

" I am certain of it." 

" Well, sir, let them come. I see no reason for hinder- 
ing them. After all, these Papuans are poor creatures, 
and I am unwilling that my visit to the Island of Gue- 
beroan should cost the life of a single one of these 

Upon that I was going away; but Captain Nemo de- 
tained me, and asked me to sit down by him. He ques- 
tioned me with interest about our excursions on shore, and 
our hunting, and seemed not to understand the craving 
for meat that possessed the Canadian. Then the conver- 
sation turned on various subjects, and without being more 
communicative. Captain Nemo showed himself more ami- 

Amongst other things, we happened to speak of the 
situation of the Nautilus, run aground in exactly the same 
spot in this strait where Dumont d'Urville was nearly lost. 
Apropos of this: 

" This D'Urville was one of your great sailors," said 
the Captain tome: '^one of your most intelligent navi- 
gators. He is the Captain Cook of you Frenchmen. Un- 
fortunate man of science, after having braved the icebergs 
of the south pole, the coral reefs of Oceanica, the canni- 
bals of the Pacific, to perish miserably in a railway train I 


If this energetic man could liave reflected during the last 
moments of his life, what must have been uppermost in 
his last tlioughts, do you suppose?" 

So speaking, Captain Nemo seemed moved, and his 
emotion gave me a better opinion of him. Then, chart in 
liand, we reviewed the travels of the French navigator, his 
voyages of circumnavigation, his double detention at the 
south pole, which led. to the discovery of Adelaide and 
Louis Philippe, and fixing the hydrographical bearings of 
the principal islands of Oceanica. 

** That which your D'Urville has done on the surface of 
the seas," said Captain Nemo, "that have I done under 
them, and more easily, more completely than he. The 
Astrolabe and the Celia, incessantly tossed about by the 
hurricanes, could not be worth the Nautilus, quiet reposi- 
tory of labor that she is, truly motionless in the midst of 
the waters." 

" To-morrow," added the Captain, rising, " to-morrow, 
at twenty minutes to three p.m., the Nautilus shall float, 
and leave the Strait of Torres uninjured.** 

Having curtly pronounced these words. Captain Nemo 
bowed slightly. This was to dismiss me, and I went back 
to my room. 

There I found Conseil, who vnshed to know the result 
of my interview with the Captain. 

" My boy," said I, " when 1 feigned to believe that his 
Nautilus was threatened by the natives of Papua, the Cap- 
tain answered me very sarcastically. I have but one 
thing to say to you: Have confidence in him, and go to 
sleep in peace." 

" Have you no need of my services, sir?" 

*'No, my friend. What is Ned Land doing?" 

'* If you will excuse me, sir," answered Conseil, " friend 
Ned is busy making a kangaroo-pie, which will be a mar- 

I remained alone, and went to bed, but slept indiffer- 
ently. I heard the noise of the savages, who stamped on 
the platform, uttering deafening cries. The night passed 
thus, without disturbing the ordinary repose of the crew. 
The presence of these cannibals affected them no more 
than the soldiers of a masked battery care for the ants that 
crawl over its front. 

At six in the morning I rose. The hatches had not been 


opened. The inner air was not renewed, but the reser- 
voirs, filled ready for any emergency, were now resorted 
to, and discharged several cubic feet of oxygen into the 
exhausted atmosphere of the Nautilus. 

I worked in my room till noon, without having seen 
Captain Nemo, even for an instant. On board no prepa- 
rations for departure were visible. 

I waited for some time, then went into the large saloon. 
The clock marked half past two. In ten minutes it would 
be high tide, and if Captain Nemo had not made a rash 
promise, the Nautilus would be immediately detached. If 
not, many months would pass ere she could leave her bed 
of coral. 

However, some warning vibrations began to be felt in 
the vessel. I heard the keel grating against the rough, 
calcareous bottom of the coral-reef. 

At five-and-twenty minutes to three Captain Nemo ap- 
peared in the saloon. 

*' We are going to start," said he. 

"All!" replied I. 

" I have given the order to open the hatches." 

''And the Papuans?" 

" The Papuans?" answered Captain Nemo, slightly 
shrugging his shoulders. 

** Will they not come inside the Nautilus?" 


**Only by leaping over the hatches you have opened." 

" M. Aronnax," quietly answered Captain Nemo, " they 
will not enter the hatches of the Nautilus in that way, 
even if they were open." 

I looked at the Captain. 

** You do not understand?" said he. 

" Hardly." 

" Well, come and you will see." 

I directed my steps toward the central staircase. There 
Ned Land and Conseil were slyly watching some of the 
ship's crew, who were opening the hatches, while cries of 
rage and fearful vociferations resounded outside. 

The port lids were pulled down outside. Twenty hor- 
rible faces appeared. But the first native who placed hia 
hand on the stair-rail, struck from behind by some invisi- 
ble force, I know not what, fled, uttering the most fearful 
cries, and making the wildest contortions. 

20,000 LEAGUES UifDER THE SEAS. 135 

Ten of his companions followed liim. They met with 
the same fate. 

Conseil was in ecstasy. Ked Land, carried away by his 
violent instincts, rushed on to the staircase. But the mo- 
ment he seized the rail with both hands, he, in his turn, 
was overthrown. 

" I am struck by a thunderbolt," cried he, with an 

This explained all. It was no rail, but a metallic cable, 
charged with electricity from the deck, communicating 
with the platform. Whoever touciied it felt a powerful 
shock — and this shock would have been mortal, if Captain 
Nemo had discharged into the conductor the whole force 
of the current. It might truly be said that between his 
assailants and himself he iiad stretched a network of elec- 
tricity which none could pass with impunity. 

Meanwhile, the exasperated Papuans had beaten a re- 
treat, paralyzed with terror. As for us, half laughing, 
we consoled and rubbed the unfortunate Ned Land, who 
swore like one possessed. 

But, at this moment, the Nautilus, raised by the last 
waves of the tide, quitted her coral bed exactly at the 
fortieth minute fixed by the captain. Her screws swept 
the water slowly and majestically. Her speed increased 
gradually, and sailing on the surface of the ocean, she 
quitted safe and sound the dangerous passes of the Straits 
of Torres. 



The following day, 10th January, the Nauti]us con- 
tinued her course between two seas, but with such re- 
markable speed that I could not estimate it at less than 
thirty-five miles an hour. The rapidity of her screw was 
Buch that I could neither follow nor count its evolutions. 
When I reflected that this marvelous electric agent, after 
having afforded motion, heat, and light to the Nautilus, 
still protected us from outward attack, and transformed 
her into an ark of safety which no profane hand might 
touch without being thunder-stricken, my admiration was 


nnbounded, and from the structure it extended to the engi- 
neer who had culled it into existence. 

Our course was directed to the west, and on the 11th 
January we doubled Cape Wessel, situated in 135** longi- 
tude and lO** north latitude, wliich forms the east point 
of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The reefs were numerous, 
but more equalized, and marked on the chart with 
extreme precision. The Nautilus easily avoided the 
breakers of Moneyoto port and the Victoria reefs to star- 
board, placed at 130** longitude, and on the tenth parallel 
which we strictly followed. 

On the 13th January, Captain Nemo arrived in the Sea 
of Timor, and recognized the island of that name in 122" 

From this point the direction of the Nautilus inclined 
towards the southwest. Her head was set for the Indian 
Ocean. Where would the fancy of Captain Nemo carry 
us next? Would he return to the Coast of Asia? or would 
he approach again the shores of Europe? Improbable 
conjectures both, for a man who fled from inhabited con- 
tinents. Then, would he descend to the south? Was he 
going to double the Cape of Good Hope, then Cape Horn, 
and finally go as far as the antarctic pole? Would he 
come back at last to the Pacific, Avhere his Nautilus could 
sail free and independently? Time would show. 

After having skirted the sands of Cartier, Hibernia, 
Seringapatam, and Scott, last efforts of the solid against 
the liquid element, on the 14b4i January we lost siglit of 
land altogether. The speed of the Nautilus was consid- 
erably abated, and with irregular course, she sometimes 
swam in the bosom of the waters, sometimes floated on 
their surface. 

During this period of the voyage, Captain Nemo made 
some interesting experiments on the varied temperature of 
the sea in different beds. Under ordinary conditions, 
these observations are made by means of rather compli- 
cated instruments, and with somewhat doubtful results, 
by means of thermometrical sounding-leads, the glasses 
often breaking under the pressure of the water, or an 
apparatus grounded on the variation ol the resistance of 
metals to the electric currents. Eesults so obtained could 
not be correctly calculated. On the contrary, Captain 
Nemo went himself to test the temperature in the depths 


of the sea, and his thermometer, placed in communica- 
tion with the different sheets of water, gave him the 
required degree immediately and accurately. 

It was thus that, either by overloading her reservoirs, or 
by descending obliquely by means of her inclined planes, 
the Nautilus successively attained the depth of three, four, 
five, seven, nine, and ten thousand yards, and the definite 
result of this experience was, that the sea preserved an 
average temperature of four degrees and a half, at a depth 
of five thousand fathoms, under all latitudes. 

On the 16th January, the Nautilus seemed becalmed, 
only a few yards beneath the surface of the waves. Her 
electric apparatus remained inactive, and her motionlesg 
screw left her to drift at the mercy of the currents. I 
supposed that the crew was occupied with interior repairs, 
rendered necessary by the violence of the mechanical 
movements of the machine. 

My companions and I then witnessed a curious spec- 
tacle. The hatches of the saloon were opened, and as the 
beacon-light ef the Nautilus was not in action, a dim ob- 
scurity reigned in the midst of the waters. I observed the, 
state of the sea under these conditions, and the largest fish 
appeared to be no more than scarcely defined shadows, 
when the Nautilus found herself suddenly transported into 
full light. I thought at first that the beacon had been 
lighted, and was casting its electric radiance into the 
liquid fmass. I was mistaken, and after a rapid survey 
perceived my error. 

The Nautilus floated in the midst of a phosphorescent 
bed, which, in this obscurity, became quite dazzling. It 
was produced by myriads of luminous animalculae, whose 
brilliancy was increased as they glided over the metallic 
hull of the v,essel. I was surprised by lightning in the 
midst of these luminous sheets, as though they had been 
rivulets of lead melted in an ardent furnace, or metallic 
masses brought to a white heat, so that, by force of con- 
trast, certain portions of light appeared to cast a shade in 
the midst of the general ignition, from which all shade 
seemed banished. No; this was not the calm irradiation 
of our ordinary lightning. There was unusual life and 
vigor; this was truly living light. 

In reality, it was an infinite agglomeration of colored 
^nfusoria, of vertible globules of diaphanous jelly, pro- 


videtl witli a thread-like tentacle, and of which as many as 
twenty-five thousand have been counted in less than two 
cubic half-inches of water; and their light was increased 
by the glimmering peculiar to the medusse, starfish, 
aurelia, and other phosphorescent zoophytes, impregnated 
by the grease of the organic matter decomposed by the sea, 
and, perhaps, the mucus secreted by tiie fish. 

During several hours tlie Nautilus floated in these brill- 
iant waves, and our admiration increased as we watched 
the marine monsters disporting themselves like salaman- 
ders. I saw tliere in the midst of this fire that burns not, 
the swift and elegant porpoise (the indefatin:able clown 
of the ocean), and some sword fish ten feet long, those 
prophetic heralds of the hurricane, whose formidable sword 
would now and then strike the glass of the saloon. Then 
appeared the smaller fish, the variegated balista, the leap- 
ing mackerel, wolf-thorntails, and a hundred others which 
striped the luminous atmosphere as they swam. The 
dazzling spectacle was enchanting! Perhaps some atmos- 
pheric condition increased the intensity of this phenome- 
• lion. Perhaps some storm agitated the surface of the 
waves. 'But at this depth of some yards, the Nautilus 
was unmoved by its fury, and reposed peacefully in still 

So we progressed, incessantly charmed by some new 
marvel. Conseil arranged and classed his zoophytes, his 
articulata, his mollusks, his fishes. The days passed rapidly 
away, and I took no account of them. Ned, according to . 
habit, tried to vary the diet on board. Like snails, we 
were fixed to our shells, and I declare it is easy to lead a 
snail's life. 

Thus this life seemed easy and natural, and we thought 
no longer of the life we led on land: but something hap- 
pened to recall us to the strangeness of our situation. 

On the 18th of January, the Nautilus was in 105° lon- 
gitude and 15° south latitude. The weather was threat- 
ening, the sea rough and rolling. There was a strong 
east wind. The barometer, which had been going down 
for some days, foreboded a coming storm. I went up to 
the platform just as the second lieutenant was taking the 
measure of the horary angles, and waited, according to 
habit, till the daily phrase was said. But, on this day, it 
was exchanged for another phrase not less incomprehensi- 


ble. Almost directly, I saw Captain Nemo appear, with a 
glass, looking toward the horizon. 

For some minutes he was immovable, without taking 
his eye ofE the point of observation. Then he lowered 
his glass, and exchanged a few words with his lieutenant. 
The latter seemed to be a victim to some emotion that he 
tried in vain to repress. Captain Nemo, having more 
command over himself, was cool. He seemed, too, to be 
making some objections, to which the lieutenant replied 
by formal assurances; at least I concluded so by the differ- 
ence of the tones and gestures. For myself, I had looked 
carefully in the direction indicated without seeing any- 
thing. The sky and water were lost in the clear line of 
the horizon. 

However, Captain Nemo walked from one end of the 
platform to the other, without looking at me, perhaps 
without seeing me. His step was firm, but less regular 
than usual. He stopped sometimes, crossed his arms, and 
observed the sea. What could he be looking for on that 
immense expanse? 

The Nautilus was then some hundreds of miles from 
the nearest coast. 

The lieutenant had taken up the glass, and examined 
the horizon steadfastly, going and coming, stamping his 
foot and showing more nervous agitation than his superior 
officer. Besides, this mystery must necessarily be solved, 
and before long; for, upon an order from Captain Nemo, 
the engine, increasing its propelling power, made the screw 
turn more rapidly. 

Just then the lieutenant drew the Captain's attention 
again. The latter stopped walking, and directed his glass 
toward the place indicated. He looked long. I felt very 
much puzzled, and descended to the drawing-room and 
took out an excellent telescope that I generally used. 
Then, leaning on the cage of the watch-light, that jutted 
out from the front of the platform, set myself to look over 
all the line of the sky and sea. 

But my eye was no sooner applied to the glass, than i^ 
was quickly snatched out of my hands. 

I turned round. Captain Nemo was before me, but I 
did not know him. His face was transfigured. His eyes 
flashed sullenly; his teeth were set; his stiff body, clinched 
fists, and head shrunk between the shoulders, betrayed the 

130 20,000 LEAGtJES UNDEll THE SEAS, 

Violent agitation that pervaded his whole frame. He did 
not move. My glass, fallen from his hands, had rolled at 
his feet. 

Had I unwittingly provoked this fit of anger? Did this 
incomprehensible person imagine that I had discovered 
some forbidden secret? No; I was not the object of this 
hatred, for he was not looking at me, his eye was steadily 
fixed upon the impenetrable point of the horizon. At last 
Captain Nemo recovered himself. His agitation subsided. 
He addressed some words in a foreign language to his 
lieutenant, then turned to me. " M. Aronnax," he said, in 
rather an imperious tone, '* I require you to keep one of 
the conditions that bind you to me." 

"What is it. Captain?" 

" You must be confined, with your companions, until I 
think fit to release you." 

*' You are the master," I replied, looking steadily at 
him. ** But may I ask you one question?" 

**None, sir." 

There was no resisting this imperious command; it 
Would have been useless. I went down to the cabin occu- 
pied by Ned Land and Conseil, and told them the Cap- 
tain's determination. You may judge how this communi- 
cation was received by the Canadian. 

But there was no time for altercation. Four of the 
crew waited at the door, and conducted us to that cell 
where we had passed our first night on board the Nau- 

Ned Land would have remonstrated, but the door was 
shut upon him. 

*' Will master tell me what this means?" asked Conseil. 

I told my companions what had passed. They were as 
much astonished as I, and equally at a loss how to account 
for it. 

Meanwhile I was absorbed in my own reflections, and 
could think of nothing but the strange fear depicted in 
the Captain's countenance. I was utterly at a loss to ac- 
count for it, when my cogitations were disturbed by these 
words from Ned Land: 

'' Hallo! breakfast is ready!" 

And indeed the table was laid. Evidently Captain 
Nemo had given this order at the same time that he had 
hastened the speed of the Nautilus, 


** Will master permit me to make a recommendation?" 
asked Conseil. 

"Yes, my boy." 

"Well, it is that master breakfasts. It is prudent, for 
we do not know what may happen." 

"Yon are right, Conseil." 

"Unfortunately," said Ned Land, "they have only 
given us the ship's fare." 

"Friend Ned," asked Conseil, "what would you have 
said if the breakfast had been entirely forgotten?" 

This argument cut short the harpooner's recrimina- 

We sat down to table. The meal was eaten in silence. 

Just then the luminous globe that lighted the cell went 
out, and left us in total dax'kness. Ned Land was soon 
asleep, and what astonished me was that Conseil went off 
into a heavy sleep. I was thinking what could have caused 
his irresistible drowsiness, when 1 felt my brain becoming 
stupefied. In spite of my efforts to keep my eyes open, 
they would close. A painful suspicion seized me. Evi- 
dently soporific substances had been mixed with the food 
we had just taken. Imprisonment was not enough to 
conceal Captain Nemo's projects from us; sleep was more 

I then heard the panels shut. The undulations of 
the sea, which caused a slight rolling motion, ceased. 
Had the Nautilus quitted the surface of the ocean? Had 
it gone back to the motionless bed of water? I tried to 
resist sleep. It was impossible. My breathing grew 
weak. I felt a mortal cold freeze my stiffened and half- 
paralyzed limbs. My eyelids, like leaden caps, fell over 
my eyes. I could not raise them; a morbid sleep, full of 
hallucinations, bereft me of my being. Then the visions 
disappeared, and left me in complete insensibility. 



The next day I woke with my head singularly clear 
To my great surprise I was in my own room. My com- 
panions, no doubt, had been reinstated in their cabin 
without having perceived it any more tban I. Of what 


had passed during tlie night they were as ignorant as 1 
was, and to penetrate this mystery I only reckoned upon 
the chances of tiie future. 

I then thought of quitting my room. Was I free again, 
or a prisoner? Quite free. I opened the door, went to 
the half-deck, went up the central stairs. The panels, 
shut the evening before, were open. I went on to the plat- 

Ned Land and Conseil waited there for me. I ques- 
tioned them; they knew nothing. Lost in a heavy sleep, 
in which they had been totally unconscious, they had been 
astonished at finding themselves in their cabin. 

As for the Nautilus, it seemed quiet and mysterious as 
ever. It floated on the surface of the waves at a moderate 
pace. Nothing seemed changed on board. 

The second lieutenant then came on to the platform, 
and gave the usual order below. 

As for Captain Nemo, he did not appear. 

Of the people on board I only saw the impassive stew- 
ard, who served me with his usual dumb regularity. 

About two o'clock, Lwas in the drawing-room, busied 
in arranging my notes, when the captain opened the door 
and appeared. I bowed. He made a slight inclination 
in return, without speaking. I resumed my work, hoping 
that he would perhaps give me some explanation of the 
events of the preceding night. He made none. I looked 
at him. He seemed fatigued; his heavy eyes had not been 
refreshed by sleep; his face looked very sorrowful. He 
walked to and fro, sat down and got up again, took up a 
chance book, put it down, consulted his instruments with- 
out taking his habitual notes, and seemed restless and 
uneasy. At last he came up to me, and said: 

"Are you a doctor, M. Aronnax?" 

I so little expected such a question, that I stared some 
time at him without answering. 

"Are you a doctor," he repeated. "Several of your 
colleagues have studied medicine." 

"Well," said I, "I am a doctor and resident surgeon to 
the hospital. I practiced several years before entering the 

"Very well, sir." 

My answer had evidently satisfied the captain. But 
not knowing what he would say next, I waited for other 


questions, reserving my answers according to circum- 

** M. Aronnax, will you consent to prescribe for one of 
my men?" he asked. 

"Is he ill?" 


" I am ready to follow you." 

"Come then." 

I own my heart beat, I do not know why. I saw a 
certain connection between the illness of one of the crew 
and the events of the day before: and this mystery inter- 
ested me at least as much as the sick man. 

Captain Nemo conducted me to the poop of the Nauti- 
lus, and took me into a cabin situated near the sailor's 

There, on a bed, lay a man about forty years of age, 
with a resolute expression of countenance, a true type of 
an Anglo-Saxon. 

I leant over him. He was not only ill, he was wounded. 
His head swathed in bandages covered with blood, lay on 
a pillow. 1 undid the bandages, and the wounded man 
looked at me with his large eyes and gave no sign of pain 
as I did it. It was a horrible wound. The skull, shat- 
tered by some deadly weapon, left the brain exposed, which 
was much injured. Clots of blood had formed in the 
bruised and broken mass, in color like the dregs of wine. 

There was both contusion and suffusion of the brain. 
His breathing was slow, and some spasmodic movements 
of the muscles agitated his face. I felt his pulse. It was 
intermittent. The extremities of the body were growing 
cold already, and I saw death must inevitably ensue. After 
dressing the unfortunate man's wounds, I readjusted the 
bandages on his head, and turned to Captain Nemo. 

"What caused this wound?" I asked. 

"What does it signify?" he replied, evasively. "A 
shock has broken one of the levers of the engine, which 
struck myself. But your opinion as to his state?" 

I hesitated before giving it. 

" You may speak," said the captain. '* This man does 
not understand French." 

I gave a last look at the wounded man. ** He will bd 
dead in two hours." 

"Can nothing save him?" 


** Nothing." 

Captain Nemo's hand contracted, and some tears glis- 
tened in his eyes, which I thought incapable of shedding 

For some moments I still watched the dying man, whoso 
life ebbed slowly. His pallor increased under the electric 
light that was shed over his death-bed. I looked at his 
intelligent forehead, furred with premature wrinkles, 
produged probably by misfortune and sorrow. I tried to 
learn the secret of his life from the last words that escaped 
his lips. 

*' You can go now, M. Aronnax," said the captain. 

I left him in the dying man's cabin, and returned to my 
room, much affected by this scene. During the whole 
day, I was haunted by uncomfortable suspicions, and at 
iiiglit I slept badly, and, between my broken dreams, I 
fancied I heard distant sighs like the notes of a funeral 
psalm. Were they the prayers of the dead, murmured iu 
that language that I could not understand? 

The next morning I went on to the bridge. Captain 
Nemo was there before me. As soon as he perceived me 
he came to me. 

" Professor, will it be convenient to you to make a sub- 
marine excursion to-day?" 

" With my companions?" 

*'If they like." 

*' We obey your orders, captain." 

*' Will you be so good then as to put on your cork- 

It was not a question of dead or dying. I rejoined Ned 
Land and Conseil, and told them of Captain Nemo's prop- 
osition. Conseil hastened to accept, and this time the 
Canadian seemed quite willing to follow our example. 

It was eight o'clock in the morning. At half-past eight 
we were equipped for this new excursion, and provided 
with two contrivances for light and breathing. The double 
door was open; and accompanied by Captain Nemo, who 
was followed by a dozen of the crew, we set foot, at a 
depth of about thirty feet, on the solid bottom on which 
the Nautilus rested. 

A slight declivity ended in an uneyen bottom, at fifteen 
fathoms depth. This bottom differed entirely from the 
one I had visited on my first excursion under the waters 


of the Pacific Ocean. Here, there was no fine sand, no 
submarine prairies, no sea-forest. I immediately recog- 
nized that marvelous region in which, on that day, the 
Captain did the honors to us. It was the coral kingdom. 
In the zoophyte branch and in the alcyon class I noticed 
the gorgoniae, the isidese, and the corollariae. 

The light produced a thousand charming varieties play- 
in the midst of the branches that were so vividly colored. 
I seemed to see the membraneous and cylindrical tubes 
tremble beneath the undulation of the waters. I was 
tempted to gather their fresh petals, ornamented with 
delicate tentacles, some just blown, the others budding, 
while small fish, swimming swiftly, touched them slightly, 
like flights of birds. But if my hand approached these 
living flowers, these animated sensitive plants, the whole 
colony took alarm. The white petals re-entered their red- 
cases, the flowers faded as I looked, and the bush changed 
into a block of stony knobs. 

Chance had thrown me just by the most precious 
specimens of this zoophyte. This coral was more valuable 
than that found in the Mediterranean, on the coasts of 
France, Italy, and Barbary. Its tints justified the poetical 
names of ''Flower of Blood," and "Froth of Blood," that 
trade has given to its most beautiful productions. Coral 
is sold for £20 per ounce; and in this place, the watery 
beds would make the fortunes of a company of coral-divers. 
This precious matter, often confused with other polypi, 
formed then the inextricable plots called " macciota," 
and on which I noticed several beautiful specimens of 
pink coral. 

But soon the bushes contract, and the arborizations in- 
crease. Eeal petrified thickets, long joists of fantastic 
architecture, were disclosed before us. Captain Nemo 
placed himself under a dark gallery, where by a slight 
declivity we reached a depth of 100 yards. The light from 
our lamps produced sometimes magical effects, following 
the rough outlines of the natural arches, and pendants dis- 
posed like lusters, that were tipped with points of fire. 
Between the coralline shrubs I noticed other polypi not 
less curious — melites, and irises with articulated ramifica- 
tions; also some tufts of coral, some green, others red, like 
sea- weed incrusted in their calcareous salts, that natural- 
ists, after long discussion, have definitely classed in the 


vegetable kingdom. But following the remark of a think, 
ing man, '' there is perhaps the real point where life rises 
obscurely from the sleep of a stone, without detaching 
itself from the rough point of departure." 

At last, after walking two hours, we had attained a 
depth of about 300 yards, that is to say, the extreme limit 
on which coral begins to form. But there was no isolated 
bush, nor modest brushwood, at the bottom of lofty trees. 
It was an immense forest of large mineral vegetations, 
enormous petrified trees, united by garlands of elegant plu- 
marias, sea bindweed, all adorned with clouds and reflec- 
tions. We passed freely under their high branches, lost 
in the shade of the waves, while at our feet, tubipores, 
meandrines, stars, fungi, and caryophyllidae formed a 
carpet of flowers sown with dazzling gems. What an in- 
describable spectacle! 

Captain Nemo had stopped. I and my companions 
halted, and turning round, I saw his men were forming a 
semicircle round their chief. Watching attentively, I 
observed that four of them carried on their shoulders an 
object of an oblong shape. 

We occupied, in this place, the center of a vast glade 
surrounded by the lofty foliage of the submarine forest. 
Our lamps threw over this place a sort of clear twilight 
tliat singularly elongated the shadows on the ground. At 
the end of the glade the darkness increased, and was only 
relieved by little sparks reflected by the points of coral. 

Ned Land and Oonsell were near me. We watched, and 
I thought I was going to witness a strange scene. On 
observing the ground, I saw that it was raised in certain 
places by slight excrescences incrusted with limy deposits, 
and disposed with a regularity that betrayed the hand of 

In the midst of the glade, on a pedestal of rocks 
roughly piled up, stood a cross of coral, that extended its 
long arms that one might have thought were made of 
petrified blood. 

Upon a sign from Captain Nemo, one of the men ad- 
vanced; and at some feet from the cross, he began to dig 
a hole with a pickax that he took from his belt. I under- 
stood all! This glade was a cemetery, this hoi? » tomb, 
this oblong object the body of the man who had diea w, 
the night! The Captain and his men« had come to buir, 


their companion in this general resting-place, at the 
bottom of this inaccessible ocean. 

The grave was being dug slowly; the fish fled on all 
eides while their retreat was thus being disturbed; I heard 
the strokes of the pickax, which sparkled when it hit 
upon some flint lost at the bottom of the waters. The 
hole was soon large and deep enough to receive the body. 
Then the bearers approached; the body, enveloped in a 
tissue of wliite byssus, was lowered, into the damp grave. 
Captain Nemo, with his arms crossed on his breast, and all 
the friends of him who had loved them, knelt in prayer. 

The grave was then filled in with the rubbish taken from 
the ground, which formed a slight mound. When this 
was done. Captain Nemo and his men rose; then, ap- 
proaching the grave, they knelt again, and all extended 
their hands in sign of a last adieu. Then the funeral 
procession returned to the Nautilus, passing under the 
arches of the forest, in the midst of thickets, along the 
coral bushes, and still on the ascent. At last the fires on 
board appeared, and their luminous track guided us to the 
Nautilus. At one o'clock we had returned. 

As soon as I had changed my clothes, I went up on to 
the platform, and, a prey to conflicting emotions, I sat 
down near the binnacle. Captain Nemo joined me. I 
rose and said to him: 

" So, as I said he would, this man died in the night?" 

" Yes, M. Aronnax." 

"And he rests now, near his companions, in the coral 

" Yes, forgotten by all else, but not by us. We dug 
the grave, and the polypi undertake to seal our dead for 
all eternity." And burying his face quickly in his hands, 
he tried in vain to suppress a sob. Then he added — " Our 
peaceful cemetery is there, some hundred feet below the 
surface of the waves. " 

" Your dead sleep quietly, at least, Captain, out of the 
reach of sharks." 

" Yes, sir, of sharks and men," gravely replied the 

138 30,000 LEAGUES UNDEll THE SEAS. 




We now come to the second part of our Journey under 
the sea. The first ended with the moving scene in tlve 
coral cemetery, which left such a deep impression on my 
mind. Thus, in the midst of this great sea, Captain 
Nemo's life was passing even to his grave, which he had 
prepared in one of its deepest abysses. There not one of 
the ocean's monsters could trouble the last sleep of the 
crew of the Nautilus, of those friends riveted to each other 
in death as in life. " Nor any man either," had added 
the Captain. Still the same fiei'ce, implacable defiance 
toward human society. 

I could no longer content myself with the hypothesis 
that satisfied Conseil. 

That worthy fellow persisted in seeing in the commai'der 
of the Nautilus one of those unknown savants who return 
mankind contempt for indifference. For him, he was a 
misunderstood genius, who, tired of earth's deceptions, 
had taken refuge in this inaccessible medium, where he 
might follow his instincts freely. To my mind, this 
hypothesis explained but one side of Captain Nemo's 

Indeed, the mystery of that last night, during which we 
had been chained in prison, the sleep, and the precaution 
so Tiolently taken by the captain of snatching from my 
eyes the glass I had raised to sweep the horizon, the mortal 
wound of the man, due to an unaccountable stock of the 
Nautilus, all put me on a new track. No; Captain Nemo 
was not satisfied with shunning man. His formidable ap- 
paratus not only suited his instinct of freedom, but, per- 
haps, the design of some terrible retaliation. 

At this moment nothing is clear to me; I catch but a 
glimpse of light amidst all the darkness, and I must con- 
fine myself to writing as events shall dictate, 

That day, the 24th of Tivnuary, 1868, at noon^ the second 
officer came to take altitude of the snn. I mounted the 
platform, lit a cigar, and watched the operation. It 
seemed to me that the man did not understand French; 
for several times I made remarks in a loud voice, which 
must have drawn from him some involuntary sign of atten- 
tion if he had understood them; but he remained undis- 
turbed and dumb. 

As he was taking observations with the sextant, one of 
the sailors of the Nautilus (the strong man who had accom- 
panied us on our first submarine excursion to the Island of 
Crespo) came to clean the glasses of the lantern. I ex- 
amined the fittings of the apparatus, the strength of which 
was increased a hundred-fold by lenticular rings, placed 
similar to those in a light-hotise, and which projected their 
brilliance in a horizontal plane. The electric lamp was 
combined in such a way as to give its most powerful light. 
Indeed it was produced in vacuo, which insured both its 
steadiness and its intensity. This vacuum economized the 
graphite points, between which the luminous arc was de- 
veloped — an important point of economy for Captain 
Nemo, who could not easily have replaced them; and under 
these conditiong their waste was imperceptible. When the 
Nautilus was ready to continue its submarine journey, I 
went down to the saloon. The panels were closed,, /vnd the 
course marked direct west. 

We were furrowing the waters of the Indian Ocean, a 
vast liquid plane, with a surface of 1,200,000,000 of acres, 
and whose waters are so clear and transparent, that any 
one leaning over them would turn giddy. The Nautilus 
usually floated between fifty and a hundred fathoms deep. 
We went on so for some days. To any one but myself, 
vi'ho had a great love for the sea, the hours would have 
seemed long and monotonous; but the daily walks oi] the 
platform, when I steeped myself in the reviving air of tlie 
ocean, the sight of the rich waters through the windows of 
the saloon, the books in the library, the compiling of my 
memoirs, took up all my time, and left me not a moment 
of ennui or weariness. 

For some days we saw a great number of aquatic birds, 
sea-mews or gulls. Some were cleverly killed and, pre- 
pared in a certain way, made very acceptable water-gamo. 
Amongst large winged birds, carried a long distance from 

all lands, and resting upon the vavcs from the fatigue 
of their flight, I saw some magniljcent albatrosses, utter- 
ing discordant cries like the braying of an ass, and birds 
belonging to the family of the loiigipennates. The family 
of the totipalmates was represented by the sea-swallows, 
which caught the fish from the surface, and by numerous 
phaetons, or lepturi; amongst others, the phaeton with 
red lines, as large as a pigeon, whose white plumage, 
tinted with pink, shows off to advantage the blackness of 
its wings. 

As to the fish, they always provoked our admiratiojc 
when we surprised the secrets of their aquatic life, through 
the open panels. I saw m.any kinds which I never before 
had a chance of observing. 

I shall notice chiefly ostracions peculiar to the Red Sea, 
the Indian Ocean, and that part which Avashes the coast 
of tropical America. These fishes, like the tortoise, the 
armadillo, the sea hedgehog, and the Crustacea, are pro- 
tected by a breastplate which is neither chalky nor stony, 
but real bone. In some it takes the form of a solid trian- 
gle, in others of a solid quadrangle. Amongst the trian- 
gular I saw some an inch and a half in length, with 
wholesome flesh and a delicious flavor; they are brown at 
the tail^ and yellow at the fins, and I recommend their 
introduction into fresh water, which to a certain number 
of sea-fish easily accustom themselves. I would also 
mention quadrangular ostracions, having on the back four 
large tubercles; some dotted over with white spots on tlie 
lower part of the body, and which may be tamed like 
birds; trigons provided with spikes formed by the length- 
ening of their bony shell, and which from their strange 
gruntings are called "sea-pigs"; also dromedaries with 
large humps in the shape of a cone, whose flesh is very 
tough and leathery. 

I now borrow from the daily notes of Master Conseil. 
*' Certain fish of the genus pretodon peculiar to those seas, 
with red backs and white chests, which are distinguished 
by three rows of longitudinal filament: and some electric- 
al, seven inches long, decked in the liveliest colors. 
Then, as specimens of other kinds, some ovoides, resem- 
bling an egg of a dark brown color, marked with white 
bands, and without tails; diodons, real sea-porcupinei, 
furnished with spikes, and capable of swelling, in such a 


way as to look like cushions bristling with darts; liippo- 
campi, common to every ocean; some pigasi with length- 
ened snouts, which their pectoral fins, being much 
elongated, and formed in the shape of wings, allow, if not 
to fly, at least to shoot into the air; pigeon spatulae, with 
tails covered with many rings of shell; macrognathi with 
long jaws, an excellent fish, nine inches long, and bright 
with most agreeable colors; pale-colored calliomores, with 
rugged heads; and plenty of cheetodons, with long and 
tubular muzzles, which kill insects by shooting them, as 
from an air-gun, with a single drop of water. These we 
may call the fly catchers of the seas. 

'"'In the eighty-ninth genus of fishes, classed by Lace- 
pede, belonging to the second lower class of bony, cliarac- 
terized by opercules and bronchial membranes, I remarked 
the scorpaena, the head of which is furnished with spikes, 
an(J. which has but one dorsal fin; these creatures are 
covered, or not, with little shells, according to the sub- 
class to which they belong. The second sub-class gives 
us specimens of didactyles fourteen or fifteen inches in 
lengtii, with yellow rays, and heads of a most fantastic 
appearance. As to the first sub-class, it gives several 
specimens of that singular-looking fish appropriately called 
a ' sea-frog,' with large head, sometimes pierced witli 
holes, sometimes swollen with protuberances, bristling 
with spikes and covered with tubercles; it has irregular 
and hideous horns; its body and tail are covered with 
callosities; its sting makes a dangerous wound; it is both 
repugnant and horrible to look at." » 

From the 21st to the 23d of January, the Nautilus 
went at the rate of two hundred and fifty leagues in 
twenty-four hours, being five hundred and forty miles or 
twenty-two miles an hour. If we recognized so many 
different varieties of fish, it was because, attracted by the 
electric light, they tried to follow us; the greater part, 
however, were soon distanced by our speed, though some 
kept their pace in the waters of the Nautilus for a time. 
The morning of the 24th, in 12® 5' south latitude, and 91'^ 
3° longitude, we observed Keeling Island, a madrepore 
formation, planted with magnificent cocoas, and which 
had been visited by Mr. Darwin and Captain Fitzroy. 
The Nautilus skirted the shores of this desert island for a 
little distance. Its nets brought up numerous specimens 


of polypi, and curious shells of mollnsca. Some precious 
productions of the species of delphinulae enriched the 
treasures of Captain Nemo, to which I added an asti"8ea 
punctifera, a kind of parasite polypus often found fixed 
to a shell. Soon Keeling Island disappeared from ti)e 
horizon, and our course was directed to the northwest in 
the direction of the Indian Peninsula 

From Keeling Island our course was slower, and more 
variable, often taking us into great depths. Several times 
they made use of the inclined planes, which certain in- 
ternal levers placed obliquely to the water-line. In that 
way we went about two miles, but without ever obtaining 
the greatest depths of the Indian Sea, which soundings of 
seven thousand fathoms have never reached. As to the 
temperature of the lower strata, the thermometer invari- 
bly indicated 4° above zero. I only observed that, in the 
upper regions, the water was always colder in the high 
levels than at the surface of the sea. 

On the 25th of January, the ocean was entirely deserted; 
the Nautilus passed the day on the surface, beating the 
waves with its powerful screw, and making them rebound 
to a great height. Who under such circumstances would 
not have taken it for a gigantic cetacean? Three parts of 
this day I spent on the platform. I watched the sea. 
Nothing on the horizon, till about four o'clock a steamer 
running west on our counter. Her masts were visible for 
an instant, but she could not see the Nautilus, being too 
low in the water. I fancied this steamboat belonged to 
the P. 0. Company, which runs from Ceylon to Sydney, 
touching at King George's Point and Melbourne. 

At five o'clock in the evening, before that fleeting twi- 
light which binds night to day in tropical zones, Conseil 
and I were astonished by a curious spectacle. 

It was a shoal of argonauts traveling along on the sur- 
face of the ocean. We could count several hundreds. 
Tiiey belonged to the tubercle kind which are peculiar to 
the Indian seas. These graceful molluscs moved back- 
ward bv means of their locomotive tube, through which 
tiiey propelled the water already drawn in. Of their eight 
tentacles, six were elongated, and stre-tclied out floating on 
the water, whilst the other two, rolled up flat, were spread 
to the wind like a light sail. I saw their spiral-shaped 
and fluted shells, which Ouvier justly compares to an ele* 


gant skiff. A boat indeed! It bears the creature which 
secretes it without its adhering to it. 

For nearly an hour the Nautilus floated in the midst of 
this shoal of molluscs. Then I know not what sudden 
fright they took; but as if at a signal every sail was furled, 
the arms folded, the body drawn in, the shells turned over, 
changing their center of gravity, and the whole fleet dis- 
appeared under the waves. Never did the ships of a squad- 
ron maneuver with more unity. 

At tliat moment night fell suddenly, and the reeds, 
scarcely raised by the breeze, lay peaceably under the sides 
of the Nautilus. 

The next day, 26th of January, we cut the equator at 
the eighty-second meridian, and entered the northern 
hemisphere. During 'me day, a formidable troop of sharks 
accompanied us, terrible creatures, which multiply in these 
seas, and make them very dangerous. They were " ces- 
tracio philippi " sharks, with brown backs and whitish 
bellies, armed with eleven rows of teeth — eyed sharks — 
their throat being marked with a large black spot sur- 
rounded with white like an eye. There were also some 
Isabella sharks, with rounded snouts marked with dark 
spots. These powerful creatures often hurled themselves 
at the windows of the saloon with such violence as to 
make us feel very insecure. At such times Ned Land was 
no longer master of himself. He wanted to go to the 
surface and harpoon the monsters, particularly certain 
smooth-hound sharks, whose mouth is studded with teeth 
like a mosaic; and large tiger-sharks nearly six yards long, 
the last-named of which seemed to excite him more par- 
ticularly. But the Nautilus, accelerating her speed, easily 
left the most rapid of them behind. 

The 27fch of January, at the entrance of the vast Bay of 
Bengal, we met repeatedly a forbidding spectacle — dead 
bodies floating on the surface of the water. They were 
the dead of the Indian villages, carried by the Ganges to 
the level of the sea, and which the vultures, the only un- 
dertakers of the country, had not been able to devour. 
But the sharks did not fail to help them at their funereal 

About seven o'clock in the evening, the Nautilus, half 
immersed, was sailing in a sea of milk. At first sight the 
ocean seemed lactified. Was it the effect of the lunar rays? 

144 20,000 LEAGUES UKDEll THE SEAS. 

No; for the moon, scarcely two days old, was still lying 
hidden under the horizon in the rays of the sun. The 
whole sky, though lit by the siderial rays, seemed black by 
contrast with tlie whiteness of the waters. 

Conseil could not believe his eyes, and questioned me as 
to the cause of this strange phenomenon. Happily I was 
able to answer him. 

"It is called a milk sea," I explained; "a. large extent 
of white wavelets often to be seen on the coasts of Am- 
boyna, and in these parts of the sea." 

*' But, sir," said Conseil, " can you tell me what causes 
such an effect? for I suppose the water is not really turned 
into milk." 

■^ No, my boy; and the whiteness which surprises you 
is caused only by the presence of myriads of infusoria, a 
sort of luminous little worm, gelatinous and without color, 
of the thickness of a hair, and whose length is not more 
than seven one- thousandths of an inch. These insects ad- 
here to one another sometimes for several leagues." 

" Several leagues!" exclaimed Conseil. 

" Yes, my boy; and you need not try to compute the 
number of these infusoria. You will not be able; for, if 
I am not mistaken, ships have floated on these milk seas 
for more than forty miles." 

Toward midnight the sea suddenly resumed its usual 
color; but behind us, even to the limits of the hcrizon, 
the sky reflected the whitened waves, and for a long time 
seemed impregnated with the vague glimmerings of an 
aurora borealis. 



On the 28th of February, when at noon the Nautilus 
came to the surface of the sea, in 9° 4' north latitude, 
there was land in sight about eight miles to westward. 
The first thing I noticed was a range of mountains about 
two thousand feet high, the shapes of which were most 
capricious. On taking the bearings, I knew that we were 
nearing the Island of Ceylon, the pearl which hangs from 
the lobe of the Indian Peninsula. 

Captain Nemo and his second appeared at this moment. 


The captain glanced at the map. Then, turning to me, 

" The Island of Ceylon, noted for its pearl-fisheries. 
Would you like to visit one of them, M. Aronnax?" 

** Certainly, Captain." 

"Well, the thing is easy. Though if we see the fish- 
eries, we shall not see the fishermen. The annual export- 
ation has not yet begun. Never mind, I will give orders 
to make for the Gulf of Manaar, where we shall arrive in 
the night." 

The captain said something to his second, who imme- 
diately went out. Soon the Nautilus returned to her native 
element, and the manometer showed that she was about 
thirty feet deep. 

*' Well, sir," said Captain Nemo, ** you and your com- 
panions shall visit the Bank of Manaar, and if by chance 
some fisherman should be there, we shall see him work." 

"Agreed, Captain!" 

" By the bye, M. Aronnax, you are not afraid of sharks?" 

"Sharks!" exclaimed I. 

This question seemed a very hard one. 

"Well," continued Captain Nemo. 

"I admit. Captain, that I am not very familiar with 
that kind of fish." 

"We are accustomed to them," replied Captain Nemo; 
"and in time you will be, too. However, we shall be 
armed, and on the road we may be able to hunt some of 
the tribe. It is interesting. So, till to-morrow, sir, and 

Tliis said in a careless tone, Captain Nemo left the 
saloon. Now, if you were invited to hunt the bear in tiie 
mountains of Switzerland, what would you say? "Very 
well! to-morrow we will go and hunt the bear." If you 
were asked to hunt the lion in the plains of Atlas, or the 
tiger in the Indian jungles, what would you say? "Hu! 
ha! it seems we are going to hunt the tiger or the lion! " 
But when you are invited to hunt the shark in its natural 
element, you would perhaps reflect before accepting Jthe 
invitation. As for myself, I passed my hand over my 
forehead, on which stood large drops of cold perspiration. 
" Let us reflect," said I, " and take our time. Hunting 
otters in submarine forests, as we did in the Island of 
Crcspo, will pass; but going up and down at the bottom 


of tlic so;i, where one is almost ccrtuin to meet sharks, is 
(juite another thing! I know well that in certain countries, 
particularly in the Andaman Islands, the negroes never 
hesitate to attack them with a dagger in one hand and a 
running noose in the other, but I also know that few who 
affront those creatures ever return alive. However, I am 
not a negro, and, if I were, 1 think a little hesitation in 
this case would not be ill-timed." 

At this moment, Conseil and the Canadian entered, 
quite composed, and even joyous. They knew not what 
awaited them. 

"Faith, sir," said Ned Land, *'your Captain Nemo — 
the devil take him! — has Just made a very pleasant offer." 

"Ah!" said I, "you know?" 

" If agreeable to you, sir," interrupted Conseil, *"• the 
commander of the Nautilus has invited us to visit the 
magnificent Ceylon fisheries to-morrow in your company; 
he did it kindly, an.i behaved like a real gentleman." 

" He said nothing more?" 

" Notliing more, sir, except that he had already spo"Ken 
to you of tliis little walk." 

" Sir," said Conseil, " would you give us some details of 
the pearl-fishery?" 

" As to the fishing itself," I asked, " or the incidents, 

" On the fishing," replied the Canadian; " before enter- 
ing upon the ground it is as well to know something 
about it." 

" Very well; sit down, my friends, and I will teach you." 

Ned and Conseil seated themselves on an ottoman, and 
tlie first thing the Canadian asked was: 

" Sir, what is a pearl?" 

" My worthy Ned," I answered, "to the poet a pearl is 
a tear of the sea; to the Orientals it is a drop of dew solid- 
ified; to the ladies, it is a jewel of an oblong shape, of a 
brilliancy of mother-of-pearl substance, which they wear 
oil their fingers, their necks, or their ears; for the chem- 
ist it is a mixture of phosphate and carbonate of lime, 
with a little gelatine; and lastly, for naturalists, it is 
simply a morbid secretion of tlie organ that produces tha 
mother-of-pearl amongst certain bivalves." 

" Branch of mollusca," said Conseil, " class of acephali, 
order of testacea." 


"Precisely so, my learned Conseil; and amongst these 
testacea, the earshell; the tridacnae, the turbots — in a 
word, all those which secrete motner-of-pearl, that is, the 
Mne, bluish, violet, or white, substance which lines the 
interior of their shells, are capable of producing peaiis." 

** Mussels too?" asked the Canadian. 

"Yes, mussels of certain waters in Scotland, Wales, 
Ireland, Saxony, Bohemia and France." 

" Good! For the future I shall pay attention," replied 
the Canadian. 

" But," I continued, " the particular mollusc which 
secretes the pearl is the pearl-oyster, the Meleagriiia mar- 
garitifera, that precious pintadine. The pearl is nothing 
but a nacreous formation, deposited in a globular form, 
cither adhering to the oyster-shell, or buried in the folds 
of the creature. On the shell it is fast; in the flesh it is 
loose; but always has for a kernel a small, hard substance, 
may be a barren egg, may be a grain of sand, around 
which the pearly matter deposits itself year after year suc- 
cessively, and by thin concentric layers." 

" Are many pearls found in the same oyster?" asked 

" Yes, my boy. There are some pintadines a perfect 
casket. One oyster has been mentioned, though I allow 
myself to doubt it, as having contained no less than a 
hundred and fifty sharks." 

"A hundred and fifty sharks!" exclaimed Ned Land. 

" Did I say sharks?" said I hurriedly. " I meant to 
say a hundred and fifty pearls. Sharks would not be 

''Certainly not," said Conseil, "but will you tell us 
now by what means they extract these pearls?' 

" They proceed in various ways. When they adhere to 
the shell, the fishermen often pull them off with pincers; 
but the most common way is to lay the pintadines on mats 
of the sea-weed which cover the banks. Thus they die 
in the open air; and at the end of ten days they are in a 
forward state of decomposition. They are then plunged 
into large reservoirs of sea-water; then they are opened 
and waslied. Now begins the double work of the sorters. 
First they separate the layers of pearl, known in com- 
merce by the name of bastard whites and bastard blacks, 
which are delivered in boxes of two hundred and fifty and 


three hundred pounds each. Then they take the parency- 
ma of the oyster, boil it, and pass it through a sieve in 
order to extract the very smallest pearls." 

" The price of these pearls varies accordingly to their 
size?" asked Conseil. 

*' Not only according to their size," I answered, "but 
also according to their shape, their water (that is, their 
color), and their luster; that is, that bright and diapered 
sparkle which makes them so cnarming to the eye. The 
most beautiful are called virgin-})earl8 or paragons. They 
are formed alone in the tissue of the mollusc, are white, 
often opaque, and sometimes have the transparency of an 
opal; they are generally round or oval. The round are 
made into bracelets; the oval into pendants; and, being 
more ])recious, are sold singly. Those adhering to the 
shell of the oyster are more irregular in shape, and are 
sold by weight. Lastly, in a lower order are classed those 
small pearls known under the name of seed-pearls; they 
are sold by measure, and are especially used in embroidery 
for church ornaments." 

" But," said Conseil, ''is this pearl-fishery dangerous?" 

"No," I answered, quickly; "particularly if certain 
precautions are taken." 

" What does one risk in such a calling?" said Ned Land; 
" the swallowing of some mouthfuls of sea-water?" 

" As you say, Ned. By the bye," said I, trying to take 
Captain Nemo's careless tone, "are you afraid of sharks, 
brave Ned?" 

"I!" replied the Canadian, "a harpooner by profes- 
sion? It is my trade to make light of them." 

"But," said I, "it is not a question of fishing for 
them with an iron swivel, hoisting them into the vessel, 
cutting off their tails with the blow of a chopper, ripping 
them up, and throwing their hearts into the seal" 

'' Then it is a question of " 

" Precisely." 

" In the water?" 

*' In the water." 

"Faith, with a good harpoon! You know, sir, these 
sharks are ill-fashioned beasts. They must turn on their 
bellies to seize you, and in that time " 

Ned Land had a way ot saying " seize " which made 
mv blood run cold. 


*' Well, and you, Conseil, what do you think of sharks?" 
"Me!" said Conseil. *a will be frank, sir." 
" So much the better," thought I. 
" If you, sir, mean to face the sharks, I do not see why 
your faithful servant should not face them with you." 



The n^ext morning at four o'clock I was awakened by 
the steward, whom Captain Nemo had placed at my serv- 
ice. I rose hurriedly, dressed, and went into the saloon. 

Captain Nemo was awaiting me. 

** M. Aronnax," said he, " are you ready to start?" 

" I am ready." . 

" Then, please to follow me." 

"And my companions. Captain?" 

*' Tliey have been told, and are waiting." 

"Are we not to put on our diver's dresses?" asked I. 

•' Not yet. I have not allowed the Nautilus to come 
too near this coast, and we are some distance from the 
Manaar Bank; but the boat is ready, and will take us to 
the exact point of disembarking, which will save us along 
way. It carries our diving apparatus, which we will put 
on when we begin our submarine journey." 

Captain Nemo conducted me to the central staircase, 
which led on to the platform. Ned and Conseil were 
already there, deliglited at the idea of the "pleasure 
party " which was preparing. Five sailors from the Nau- 
tilus, with their oars, waited in the boat, which had been 
made fast against the side. 

The night was still dark. Layers of clouds covered the 
sky, allowing but few stars to be seen. I looked on the 
side where the land lay, and saw nothing but a dark line 
inclosing three parts of the horizon, from southwest to 
northwest. The Nautilus, having returned during the 
night up the western coast of Ceylon, was now west of the 
bay, or rather gulf, formed by the mainland and the island 
of Manaar. There, under the dark waters, stretched the 

f)intadine bank, and an inexhaustible field of pearls, the 
ength of which is more than twenty miles. 


Captain Nemo, Ned Land, Conseil, and I, took our 
places in tlie stern of the boat. The master went to the 
tiller; his four companions leaned on their oars^ the painter 
was cast off, and we sheered off. 

The boat went to toward the south; the oarsmen did 
not hurry. 1 noticed that their strokes, strong in the 
water, only followed each other every ten seconds, accord- 
ing to the metiiod generally adopted in the navy. Whilst 
the crafc was running by its own velocity, liquid drops 
struck the dark depths of the waves, the crisply, like spots ^ 
of melted lead. A little billow, spreading wide, gave a 
slight roll to the boat and some samphire reeds flapped 
before it. 

We were silent. What was Captain Nemo thinking of? 
Perhaps of the land he was approaching, and which he 
found too near to him, contriry to the Canadian's opinion, 
who thought it too far off. As to Conseil, he was merely 
there from curiosity. 

About half-past five, the first tints on the horizon 
showed the upper line of coast more distinctly. Flat 
enough in the east, it rose a little to the south. Five 
miles still lay between us, and it was indistinct, owing to 
the mist on the water. At six o'clock it became suddenly 
daylight with that rapidity peculiar to tropical regions, 
which know neither dawn nor twilight. The solar rays 
pierced the curtain of clouds piled upon the eastern 
horizon, and the radiant orb rose rapidly. I saw land 
distinctly, with a few trees scattered here and there. The 
boat neared Manaar Island, which was rounded to the 
south. Captain Nemo rose from his seat and watched the 

At a sign from him the anchor was dropped, but the 
chain scarcely ran, for it was little more than a vard 
deep, and this spot was one of the highest points of the 
bank of pintadines. 

"Here we are, M. Aronnax," said Captain Nemo. 
*' You see that inclosed bay? Here, in a month, will be 
assembled the numerous fishing-boats of Jthe exporters, 
and these are the waters their divei's will ransack so boldly. 
Happily, this bay is well situated for that kind of fish- 
ing. It is sheltered from the strongest winds; the sea is 
jiever very rough here, which iiiakes U favorable for the 


diver's work. We will now put on our dresses, and begin 
our walk." 

I did not answer, and while watching the unsuspected 
waves began with the help of the sailors to put on my 
heavy sea-dress. Captain Nemo and my companions were 
also dressing. None of the Nautilus' men were to accom- 
pany us on this new excursion. 

Soon we were enveloped to the throat in india-rubber 
clothing; the air apparatus fixed to our backs by braces. 
As to tlie Euhmkortf apparatus, there was no necessity for 
it. Before putting my head into the copper cap, I had 
asked the question of the captain. 

" They would be useless," he replied. *' We are going 
to no great depth, and the solar ray will be enough to light 
our walk. Besides, it would not be prudent to carry the 
electric light in these waters; its brilliancy might attract 
some of the dangerous inhabitants of the Coast most inop- 

As Captain Nemo pronounced these words, I turned to 
Conseil and Ned Land. But my two friends had already 
incased their heads in the metal caps, and they could 
neither hear nor answer. 

One last question remained to ask of Captain Nemo. 

*' And our arms?" asked I; " our guns?" 

**Guns! what for? Do not mountaineers attack the 
bear with daggers in their hand, and is not steel surer than 
lead? Here is a strong blade; put it in your belt, and we 

I looked at my companions; they were armed like us, 
and more than that, Ned Land was brandishing an enor- 
mous harpoon, which he had placed in the boat before 
leaving the Nautilus. 

Then, following the Captain's example, I allowed myself 
to be dressed in the heavy copper helmet, and our reser- 
voirs of air were at onee in activity. An instant after, we 
were landed, one after the other, in about two feet of 
water, upon an even sand. Captain Nemo made a sign 
with his hand, and we followed him by a gentle declivity 
till we disappeared under the waves. 

Over our feet, like coveys of snipe in a bog, rose shoals 
of fish, of the genus monoptera, which have no other fins 
but their tail. I recognized the Javanese, a real serpent^ 
two and a half feet long, of a livid color underneath, und. 


wliich might easily be mistaken for a cougar eel if it was 
not for the golden stripes on its sides. In the genus stro- 
mateus, whose bodies are very flat and oval, I saw some of 
the most brilliant colors, carrying their dorsal fin like a 
scythe; an excellent eating fish, which, dried and pickled, 
is known by the name of Karaioade; then some tranque- 
bars, belonging to the genus apsiplioroides, whose body is 
covered with a shell cuirass of eight longitudinal plates. 

The heightening sun lit the mass of waters more and 
more. The soil changed by degrees. To the fine sand 
succeeded a perfect causeway of bowlders, covered with a 
carpet of mollusks and zoophytes. Amongst the speci- 
mens of these branches I noticed some placense, with thin, 
unequal shells, a kind of ostracion peculiar to the Ked 
Sea and the Indian Ocean; some orange lucinae with 
rounded shells; rock-fish three feet and a half long, which 
raised themselves under the waves like hands ready to 
seize one. There were also some panopyres, slightly lumi- 
nous; and lastly, some oculines, like magnificent fans, 
forming one of the richest vegetations of these seas. 

In the midst of these living plants, and under the arbors 
of the hydrophytes, were layers of clumsy articulates, par- 
ticularly some raninae, whose carapace formed a slightly 
rounded triangle; and sbme horrible-looking parthenopes. 

At about seven o'clock we found ourselves at last survey- 
ing the oyster banks, on which the pearl-oysters are re- 
produced by millions. 

Captain Nemo pointed with his hand to the enormous 
heap of oysters; and I could well understand that this 
mine was inexhaustible, for nature's creative power is far 
beyond man's instinct of destruction. Ned Land, faith- 
ful to his instincts, hastened to fill a net which he carried 
by his side with some of the finest specimens. But we 
could not stop. * We must follow the captain, who seemed 
to guide himself by paths known only to himself. The 
ground was sensibly rising, and sometimes, on holding up 
my arm, it was above the surface of the sea. Then the 
level of the bank would sink capriciously. Often we 
rounded high rocks scarped into pyramids. In their dark 
fractures huge Crustacea, perched upon their high claws 
like some war-machine, watched us with fixed eyes, and 
under our feet crawled various kinds of annelides. 

At this moment there opened before us a large grotto, 


Aug in a picturesque heap of rocks, and carpeted with all 
the thick warp of the submarine flora. At first it seemed 
very dark to me. The sohir rajs seemed to be extinguished 
by successive gradations, until its vague transparency 
became nothing more than drowned light. Capfain Nemo 
entered; we followed. My eyes soon accustomed them- 
selves to this relative state of darkness. I could dis- 
tinguish the ai'ches springing capriciously from natural 
pillars, standing broad upon their granite base, like the 
heavy columns of Tuscan architecture. Why had' our 
incomprehensible guide led us to the bottom of this sub- 
marine crypt? I was soon to know. After descending a 
rather sharp declivity, our feet .trod the bottom of a kind 
of circular pit. There Captain Nemo stopped, and with 
his hand indicated an object I had not yet perceived. It 
was an oyster of extraordinai'y dimensions, a gigantic 
tridacne, a goblet which could have contained a whole 
lake of holy water, a basin the breadth of which was more 
than two yards and a half, and consequently larger than 
tliat ornamenting the saloon of the Nautilus. I ap- 
proached this extraordinary mollusk. It adhered by its 
byssus to a table of granite, and there, isolated, it de- 
veloped itself in the calm waters of the grotto. I esti- 
mated the weight of this tridacne at 600 pounds. Such 
an oyster would contain thirty pounds of meat; and one 
must have the stomach of a Gargantua to demolish some 
dozens of them. 

Captain Nemo was evidently acquainted with the exist- 
ence of this bivalve, and seemed to have a particular 
motive in verifying the actual state of this tridacne. The 
shells were a little open; the captain came near, and put 
liis dagger between tliem to prevent them from closing; 
then with his hand he raised the membrane with its 
fringed edges, which formed a cloak for the creature. 
There, between the folded plaits, I saw a loose pearl, 
whose size equaled that of a cocoanut. Its globular 
shape, perfect clearness, and admirable luster, made it 
altogether a jewel of inestimable value. Carried away by 
my curiosity I stretched out my hand to seize it, weigh it, 
and touch it; but the captain stopped me, made a sign o£ 
refusal, and quiokly withdrew his dagger, and the two 
shells closed suddenly. I then understood Captain Nemo's 
intention. In leaving this pearl hidden in the mantle of 


the tridacne, he was allowing it to grow slowly. Each 
year the secretions of the mollusk would add new concen- 
tric circles. I estimated its value at £500,000 at least. 

After ten minutes Captain Nemo stopped suddenly. I 
thought he had halted previously to returning. No; by a 
gesture he bade us crouch beside him in a deep fracture of 
the rock, his hand pointed to one part of the liquid mass, 
which I watched attentively. 

About five yards from me a shadow appeared, and sank 
to the ground. The disquieting idea of sharks shot 
through my mind, but I was mistaken; and once again it 
was not a monster of the ocean that we had anything to 
do with. 

It was a man, a living man, an Indian, a fisherman, a 
poor devil, who, I suppose, had come to glean before the 
harvest. I could see the bottom of his canoe anchored 
some feet above his head. He dived and went up succes- 
sively. A stone held between his feet, cut in the shape of 
u sugar-loaf, whilst a rope fastened him to his boat, helped 
him to descend more rapidly. This was all his apparatus. 
Reaching the bottom about five yards deep, he went on his 
knees and filled his bag with oysters picked up at random,, 
Then he went up, emptied it, pulled up his stone, and be- 
gan the operation once more, which lasted thirty seconds., 

The diver did not see us. The shadow of the rock hid 
us from sight. And how should this poor Indian ever 
dream that men, beings like himself, should be there un- 
der the water watching his movements, and losing no de- 
taij of the fishing? Several times he went up in this way, 
and dived again. He did not carry away more than ten at 
each plunge, for he was obliged to pull them from the 
bank to which they adhered by means of their strong bys- 
sus. And how many of those oysters for which he risked 
his life had no pearl in them! I watched him closely; his 
maneuvers were regular, and, for the space of half an hour, 
no danger appeared to threaten him. 

I was beginning to accustom myself to the sight of thia 
interesting fishing, when suddenly, as the Indian was on 
the ground, I saw him make a gesture of terror, rise, and 
make a spring to return to the surface of the sea. 

I understood his dread. A gigantic shadow appeared 
just above the unfortunate diver. It was a shark of 
enormous size advancing diagonally, his eyes on fire, and 


his jaws open. I was mute with horror, and unable to 

The voracious creature shot toward the Indian, who 
threw himself on one side in order to avoid the shark's 
fins; but not its tail, for it struck his chest, and stretched 
him on the ground. 

This scene lusted but a few seconds ; the shark returned, 
aud, turning on his back, prepared himself for cutting 
the Indian in two, when I saw Captain Nemo rise sud- 
denly, and then, dagger in hand, walk straight to the mon- 
stei', ready to light face to face with him. The very 
moment the shark was going to snap the unhappy fisher- 
man in two, he perceived his new adversary, and turning 
over, made straight toward him. 

I can still see Captain Nemo's position. Holding him- 
self well together, he waited for the shark with admirable 
coolness ; and when it rushed at him, threw himself on 
one side with wonderful quickness, avoiding the shock, 
and burying his dagger deep into its side. 

But it was not all over. A terrible combat ensued. 

The shark had seemed to roar, if I might say so. The 
blood rushed in torrents frOm its wounds. The sea was 
dyed red, and through the opaque liquid I could distin- 
guish nothing more. Nothing more until the moment 
when, like lightning, I saw the undaunted captain hang- 
ing on to one of the creature's fins, struggling, as it were, 
hand to hand with the monster, and dealing successive 
blows at his enemy, yet still unable to give a decisive 

The shark's struggles agitated the water with such fury 
that the rocking threatened to upset me. 

I wanted to go to the captain's assistance, but, nailed 
to the spot with horror, I could not stir. 

I saw the haggard eye: I saw the different phases of the 
fight. The captain fell to the earth, upset by the enor- 
mous mass which leant upon him. The shark's jaws 
opened wide, like a pair of factory shears, and it would 
have been all over with the captain; but, quick as thought, 
harpoon in hand, Ned Laud rushed toward the shark and 
struck it with its sharp point. 

The waves were impregnated with a mass of blood. 
They rocked under the shark's movements, which beat 
them with indescribable fury. Ned Land had not missed 


his aim. It was the monster's death-rattle. Struck to 
the heart, it struggled in dreadful convulsions, the shock 
of which overthrew Conseil. 

But Ned Land had disentangled the captain, who, get- 
ting up without any wound, went straight to the Indian, 
quickly cut the cord which held him to the stone, took 
liim in his arms, and, with a sharp blow of his heel, 
mounted to the surface. 

We all three followed in a few seconds, saved Jby a 
miracle, and reached the fisherman's boat. 

Captain Nemo's first care was to recall the unfortunate 
man to life again. I did not think he could succeed. I 
hoped so, for the poor creature's immersion was not long; 
but the blow from the shark's tail might have been his 

Happily, with the captain's and Conseil's sharp friction, 
I saw consciousness return by degrees. He opened his 
eyes. What was his surprise, his terror even, at seeing 
four great copper heads leaning over him! And above all, 
what must he have thought when Captain Nemo, draw- 
ing from the pocket of his dress a bag of pearls, placed it 
in his hand! This munificent charity from the man of 
the waters to the poor Cingalese was accepted with a 
trembling hand. His wonderful eyes showed that he knew 
not to what superhuman beings he owed both fortune 
and life. 

At a sign from the captain we regained the bank, and 
following the road already traversed, came, in about half 
an hour, to the anchor which held the canoe of the Nau- 
tilus to the earth. 

Once on board, we each, with the help of the sailors, 
got rid of the heavy copper helmet. 

Captain Nemo's first word was to the Canadian. 

"Thank you, Master Land," said he. 

" It was in revenge. Captain," replied Ned Laud. *'I 
owed you that." 

A ghastly smile passed across the Captain's lips, and 
that was all. 

" To the Nautilus," said he. 

The boat flew over the waves. Some minutes after, we 
met the shark's dead body floating. By the black mark- 
ing of the extremity of its fins, I recognized the terrible 
melanopteron of the Indian Seas of the species of shark 


properly so called. It was more than twenty-jBve feet 
long; its enormous mouth occupied cue-third of its body. 
Ir, was an adult, as was known by its six rows of teeth 
placed in an isosceles triangle in the upper jaw. 

Conseil looked at it with scientific interest, and I am 
enre that he placed it, and not without reason, in the car- 
tilaginous class, of the chondropterygian order, with fixed 
gills, of the selacian family, in the genus of the sharks. 

Whilst I was contemplating tnis inert mass, a dozen of 
these voracious beasts appeared round the boat, and with- 
out jioticing us, threw themselves upon the dead body and 
fought with one another for the pieces. 

At half-past eight we were again on board the Nautilus. 
There I reflected on the incidents tvhich had taken placa 
in our excursion to the Manaar Bank. 

Two conclusions I must inevitably draw from it — one 
bearing upon the unparalleled courage of Captain Nemo, 
the other upon his devotion to a human being, a repre- 
sentative of that race from which he fled beneath the seas. 
\Yhatever he might say, this strange man had not yet suc- 
ceeded in entirely crushing his heart. 

When I made this observation to him, he answered in a 
slightly moved tone: 

" That Indian, sir, is an inhabitant of an oppressed 
country; and I am still, and shall be, to my last breath, 
a friend of them!" 



In the course of the day of the 29th of January, the 
Island of Ceylon disappeared under the horizon, and the 
Nautilus, at a speed of twenty miles an hour, slid into the 
labyrinth of canals which separate the Maldives from the 
Laccadives. It coasted even the Island of Kiltau, a land 
originally madreporic, discovered by Vasco de G-ama in 
1499, and one of the nineteen principal islands of the Lac- 
cadi ve Archipelago situated between 10° and 14" 30' north 
latitude, and 69" 50' 72**, east longitude. 

We had made 16,220 miles, or 7,500 (French) leagues 
from our starting-point in the Japanese Seas. 

The next day (30th January), when the Nautilus went 

158 20,000 lb;agues under the seas. 

to the surface of the ocean, there was no land in sight. 
Its course was N.N.E., in the direction of the Sea of 
Oman, between Arabia and the Indian Peninsuhi, which 
serves as an outlet to the Persian Gulf. It was evidently a 
block without any possible egress. Where was Captain 
Nemo taking us to? I could not say. This, however, did 
not satisfy the Canadian, who that day came to me asking 
where we were going. 

" We are going where our Captain's fancy takes us, 
Master Ned." 

" His fancy cannot take us far, then,'' said the Canadian, 
" The Persian Grulf has no outlet; and if we do go in, it 
will not be long before we are out again." 

'* Very well, then, we will come out again, Master Land; 
and if after the Persian Gulf the Nautilus would like to 
visit the Red Sea, the Straits of Bab-el-mandeb are there 
to give us entrance." 

"I need not tell you, sir," said Ned Land, "that the 
Red Sea is as much closed as the Gulf, as the Isthmus of 
Suez is not yet cut; and if it was, a boat as mysterious as 
ours would not risk itself in a canal cut with sluices. And 
again, the Red Sea is not the road to take us back to 

" But I never said we were going back to Europe.'* 

** What do you suppose, the-n?" 

" I suppose that, after visiting the curious coasts of 
Arabia and Egypt, the Nautilus will go down the Indian 
Ocean again, perhaps cross the Channel of Mozambique, 
perhaps off the Mascarenhas, so as to gain the Cape of 
Good Hope." 

" And once at the Cape of Good Hope?" asked the 
Canadian, with peculiar emphasis. 

" Well, we shall penetrate into that Atlantic which we 
do not yet know! Ah! friend Ned, you are getting tired 
of this journey under the sea; you are surfeited with the 
incessantly varying spectacle of submarine wonders. For 
my part I shall be sorry to see the end of a voyage which 
it is given to so few men to make." 

For four days, till the end of February, the Nautilus 
scoured the Sea of Oman, at various speeds and at various 
depths. It seemed to go at random, as if hesitating as to 
which road it should follow, but we never passed tha 
Tropic of Cancer. 


In quitting this sea we sighted Muscat for an instant, 
one of the most impoi'tant towns of the country of Oman. 
I admired its strange aspect, surrounded by black rocks 
upon which its white houses and forts stood in relief. I 
gaw the rounded domes of its mosques, the elegant points 
of its minarets, its fresh and verdant terraces. But it 
vas only a vision! the Nautilus soon sank under the waves 
of that part of the sea. 

We passed along the Arabian coast of Mahrah and Had- 
ramaut, for a distance of six miles, its undulating lino of 
mountains being occasionally relieved by some ancient 
ruin. The 5th of February we at last entered the Gulf of 
Aden, a perfect funnel introduced into the neck of Bab- 
el-mandeb, through which the Indian waters entered the 
Red Sea. 

The 6th of February, the Nautilus floated in sight of 
Aden, perched upon a promontory which a narrow isthmus 
joins to the mainland, a kind of inaccessible Gibraltar, 
the fortifications of which were rebuilt by the English 
after taking possession in 1837. I caught a glimpse of the 
octagon minarets of this town, which was at one time, 
according to tlie historian, Edrisi, the richest commercial 
magazine on the coast 

I certainly thought that Captain Nemo, arrived at this 
})oint, would back out again; but I was mistaken, for he 
did no such thing, much to my surprise. 

The next day, the 7th of February, we entered the 
Straits of Bab-el-mandeb, the name of which in the Arab 
tongue, means "the gate of tears." 

To twenty miles in breadth, it is only thirty-two in 
Jength. And for the Nautilus, starting at full sj)eed, the 
crossing was scarcely the work of an hour. But I saw not 
even the island of Perim, with which the British govern- 
ment has fortified the position of Aden. There were too 
many English or French steamers of the line of Suez to 
Bombay, Calcutta to Melbourne, and from Bourbon to tiie 
Mauritius, furrowing this narrow passage for the Nautilus 
to venture to show itself. So it remained prudently be- 
)ow. At last, about noon, we were in the waters of the 
Red Sea. 

I would not even seek to understand the caprice which 
had decided Captain Nemo upon entering the gulf. But 
I quite approved of the Nautilus entering it. Ita speed 


was lessened; sometimes it kept on the surface, sometimee 
it dived to avoid a vessel, and thus I was able to observe 
the upper and lower parts of this curious sea. 

The 7th of February, from the first dawn of day, Mocha 
came in sight, now a ruined town, whose walls would fall 
at a gunshot, yet which shelters here and there some ver- 
dant date-trees; once an important city, containing six 
])ublic markets, and twenty-six mosques, and whose walls, 
defended by fourteen forts, formed a girdle of two miles 
in circumference. 

The Nautilus then approached the African shore, where 
the depth of the sea was greater. There, between two 
waters clear as crystal, through the open panels we were 
allowed to contemplate the beautiful' bushes of brilliant 
coral, and large blocks of rock clothed with a splendid fur 
of green algae and fuci. What an indescribable spectacle, 
and what variety of sights and landscapes, along these 
sand-banks and volcanic islands which bound the Libyan 
coast? But where these shrubs appeared in all their 
beauty is on the eastern coast, which the Kautilus soon 
gained. It was on the coast of Tehama, for there not only 
did this display of zoophytes flourish beneath the level of 
the sea, but they also formed picturesque interlacings 
which unfolded themselves about sixty feet above the sur- 
face, more capricious but less highly colored than those 
whose freshness was kept up by the vital power of the 

What charming hours I passed thus at the window of 
the saloon! What new specimens of submarine flora and 
fauna did I admire under the brightness of our electric 

There grew sponges of all shapes, pediculated, foliated, 
globular, and digital. They certainly justified the names 
of baskets, cuj)s, distaffs, elk's-horns, lion's-feet, peacock's- 
lails, and Neptune's-gloves, which have been given to them 
by the fishermen, greater poets than the savants. 

Other zoopliytes which multiply near the sponges consist 
principally of medusas of a most elegant kind. The 
molluscs "ivere represented by varieties of the calmar (which, 
according to Orbigny, are peculiar to the Red Sea): and 
reptiles by the visgata turtle, of the genus of cheloniae, 
which furnished a wholesome and delicate food for our 


As to the fish, they were abundant, and often remarka- 
ble. The following are those which the nets of the Nau- 
tilus brought more frequently on board: 

Rays of red-brick color, with bodies marked with blue 
gpots, and easily recognizable by their double spikes; some 
superb caranxes, marked with seven transverse bands of 
jet-black, blue and yellow fins, and gold and silver scales; 
mullets with yellow heads; gobies, and a thousand other 
species, common to the ocean which we had just trav- 

The 9th of February, the Nautilus floated in the broad- 
est pare of the Red Sea, which is comprised between 
Souakin on the west coast, and Koomfidah, on the east 
coast, with a diameter of ninety miles. 

That day at noon, after the bearings were taken, Capr 
tain Nemo mounted the platform, where I happened to 
be, and I was determined not to let him go down again 
without at least pressing him regarding his ulterior 
projects. As soon as he saw me he approached, and gra- 
ciously offered me a cigar. 

" Well, sir, does this Red Sea please you? Have you 
suflBciently observed the wonders it covers, its fishes, its 
zoophytes, its parterres of sponges, and its forests of coral? 
Did you catch a glimpse of the towns on its borders?" 

" Yes, Captain Nemo," I replied; " and the Nautilus is 
wonderfully fitted for such a study. Ah! it is an intelli- 
gent boat!" 

" Yes, sir, intelligent and invulnerable. It fears neither 
the terrible tempests of the Red Sea, nor its currents, nor 
its sand-banks." >, 

" Certainly," said I, " this sea is quoted as one of the 
worst, and in the time of the ancients, if I am not mis- 
taken, its reputation was detestable." 

" Detestable, M. Aronnax. The Greek and Latin his- 
torians do not speak favorably of it, and Strabo says it is 
very dangerous during the Etesian winds, and in the rainy 
seasons. The Arabian Edrisi portrays it under the name 
of the Gulf of Oolzoum, and relates that vessels perished 
there in great numbers on the sand-banks, and that no 
one would risk sailing in the night. It is, he pretends, a 
sea subject to fearful hurricanes, strewn with inhospitable 
islands, and, ' which offers nothing good either on its 


surface or in its depths.' Sucli, too, is the opinion of 
Arrian, Agatharcides, and Artemidorus." 

" One may see," I replied, " that these historians never 
sailed on board the Nautilus." 

"Just so," replied the captain, smiling, '*and in that 
respect moderns are not more advanced than the ancients. 
It required many ages to find out the mechanical power of 
steam. Who knows if, in another hundred years, we may 
not see a second Nautilus? Progress is slow, M. Aronnax." 

" It is true," I answered; "your boat is at least a cent- 
ury before its time, perhaps an era. What a misfortune 
that the secret of such an invention should die with its 

Captain Nemo did not reply. After some minutes' 
silence he continued: 

" You were speaking of the opinions of ancient histo- 
rians upon the dangerous navigation of the Eed Sea." 

" It is true," said I; " but were not their fears exag- 

" Tes and no, M. Aronnax," replied Captain Nemo, 
who seemed to know the Eed Sea by heart. " That which 
is no longer dangerous for a modern vessel, well rigged, 
strongly built, and master of its own course, thanks to 
obedient steam, offered all sorts of perils to the ships of 
the ancients. Picture to yourself those first navigators 
venturing in ships made of planks sewn with the cords of 
the palm-tree, saturated with the grease of the sea-dog, and 
covered with powdered resin! They had not even instru- 
ments wherewith to take their bearings, and they went by 
guess amongst currents of which they scarcely knew 
anything. Under such conditions shipwrecks were, and 
must have been, numerous. But in our time, steamers 
running between Suez and the South Seas have nothing 
more to fear from the fury of this gulf, in spite of contrary 
trade-winds. The captain and passengers do not prepare 
for their departure by offering propitiatory sacrifices; and, 
on their return, they no longer go ornamented with wreaths 
and gilt fillets to thank the gods in the neighboring 

*' I agree with you," said I; " and steam seems to have 
killed all gratitude in the hearts of sailors. But, Captain, 
since you seem to have especially studied this sea, can you 
tell me the origin of its name?" 


" There exist several explanations on the subject, M. 
Aronnax. "Would you like to know the opinion of a 
chronicler of the fourteenth century?" 

'* Willingly." 

'* This fanciful writer pretends that its name was given 
to it after the passage of the Israelites, when Pharoah 
perished in the waves which closed at the voice of Moses." 

"A poet's explanation, Captain Nemo," I replied; "but 
I cannot content myself with that. I ask you for your 
personal opinion." 

*' Here it is, M. Aronnax. According to my idea we 
must see in this appellation of the Red Sea a translation 
of the Hebrew word *Edom;' and if the ancients gave it 
that name, it was on account of the particular color of its 

" But up to this time I have seen nothing but trans- 
parent waves, and without any particular color." 

*' Very likely; but as we advance to the bottom of the 
gulf, you will see this singular appearance. I remember 
seeing the Bay of Tor entirely red, like a sea of blood." 

" And you attribute this color to the presence of a 
microscopic sea- weed?" 

'* Yes; it is a mucilaginous purple matter, produced by 
the restless little plants known by the name of trichodes- 
ima, and of which it requires 40,000 to occupy the space 
of a square .04 of an inch. Perhaps we shall meet some 
when we go to Tor." 

"So, Captain Nemo, it is not the first time you have 
overrun the Red Sea on board the Nautilus?" 

"No, sir." 

" As you spoke a while ago of the passage of the Israel- 
ites, and of the catastrophe of the Egyptians, I will ask 
whether you have met with traces under the water of this 
great historical fact?" 

" No, sir; and for a very good reason." 

"What is it?" 

" It is that the spot where Moses and his people passed 
is now so blocked up with sand that the camels can barely 
bathe their legs there. You can well understand that 
there would not be water enough for my Nautilus." 

"And the spot?" I asked. 

*' The spot is situated a little above the Isthmus of Suez, 
in the arm which formerly made a deep estuary, when the 


Red Sea extended to the Salt Lakes. Now, whether this 
passage were miraculous or not, the Israelites, neverthe- 
less, crossed there to reach the Promised Land, and Pha- 
raoh's army perished precisely on that spot; and I think 
that excavations made in the middle of the sand would 
bring to light a large number of arms and instruments of 
Egyptian origin." 

"That is evident," I replied; **and for the sake of 
archaeologists let us hope that these excavations will be 
made sooner or later, when new towns are established on 
the isthmus, after the construction of the Suez Canal; a ^ 
canal, however, very useless to a vessel like the Nautilus." 

'' Very likely; but useful to the whole world," said Cap- 
tain Nemo. "The ancients well understood the utility of 
a communication between the Red Sea and the Mediter- 
ranean for their commercial affairs; but they did not think 
of digging a canal direct, and took the Nile as an inter- 
mediate. Very probably the canal which united the Nile 
to the Red Sea was begun by Sesostris, if we may believe 
tradition. One thing is certain, that in the year 615 before 
Jesus Christ, Necos undertook the works of an alimentary 
canal to the waters of the Nile, across the plain of Egypt, 
looking toward Arabia. It took four days to go up this 
canal, and it was so wide that two triremes could go abreast. 
It was carried on by Darius, the son of Hystaspes, and 
probably finished by Ptolemy II. Strabosaw it navigated; 
but its decline from the point of departure, near Bubastes, 
to the Red Sea was so slight, that it was only navigable 
for a few months in the year. This canal answered all 
commercial purposes to the age of Antoninus, when it was 
abandoned and blocked up with sand. Restored by order 
of the Caliph Omar, it was definitely destroyed in 761 or 
762 by Caliph Al-Mansor, who wished to prevent the ar- 
rival of provisions to Mohammed-ben- Abdallah, who had 
revolted against him. During the expedition into Egypt 
your General Bonaparte discovered traces of the works in 
the Desert of Suez; and, surprised by the tide, he nearly 
perished before regaining Hadjaroth, at the very place 
where Moses had encamped three thousand years before 

" Well, Captain, what the ancients dared not undertake, 
this junction between the two seas, which will shorten the 
road from Cadiz to India, M. Lesseps has succeeded in 


doing; and before long he will have changed Africa into 
an immense island." 

*' Yes, M. Aronnax; you have the right to be proud of 
your countryman. Such a man brings more honor to a 
nation than great captains. He began, like so many others, 
with disgust and rebuffs: but he has triumphed, for he has 
the genius of will. And it is sad to think that a work like 
that, which ought to have been an international work, and 
which would have saflBced to make a reign illustrious 
should have succeeded by the energy of one man. All 
honor to M. Lesseps." 

"Yes, honor to the great citizen!" I replied, sur- 
prised by the manner in which Captain Nemo had just 

** Unfortunately," he continued, "I cannot take you 
through the Suez Canal; but you will be able to see the 
long jetty of Port Said after to-morrow, when we shall be 
in the Mediterranean." 

"The Mediterranean!" I exclaimed. 

"Yes, sir; does that astonish you?" 

** What astonishes me is to think that we shall be there 
the day after to-morrow." 


" Yes, Captain, although by this time 1 ought to have 
accustomed myself to be surprised at nothing since I- have 
been on board your boat." 

"But the cause of this surprise?" 

" Well! it is the fearful speed you will have to put on 
the Nautilus, if the day after to-morrow she is to be in the 
Mediterranean, having made the round of Africa, and 
doubled the Cape of Good Hope?" 

"Who told you that she would make the round of 
Africa, and double the Cope of Good Hope, sir?" 

"Well, unless the Nautilus sails on dry land, and passes 
above the isthmus " 

" Or beneath it, M. Aronnax." 

" Beneath it?" 

" Certainly," replied Captain Nemo, quietly. " A long 
time ago nature made under this tongue of land what man 
has this day made on its surface." 

" What! such a passage, exists?" 

"Yes; a subterranean passage, which I have named the 


Arabian Tunnel. It takes us beneath Suez, and opens 
into the Gulf of Pelusium." 

"But this isthmus is composed of nothing but quick- 

" To a certain depth. But at fifty -five yards only, thero 
is a solid layer of rock." 

" Did you discover this passage by chance?" I asked, 
more and more surprised. 

"Chance and reasoning, sir; and by reasoning even 
more than by chance. Not only does this passage exist, 
but I have profited by it several times. Without that I 
should not have ventured this day into the impassable Eed 
Sea. I noticed that in the Red Sea and in the Mediter- 
ranean thtve existed a certain number of fishes of a kind 
perfectly identical — ophidia, flatoles, girelles, and exocoeti. 
Certain of that fact, I asked myself Was it possible that 
there was no communication between the two seas? If 
there was the subterranean current must necessarily run 
from the Eed Sea to the Mediterranean, from <!the sole 
cause of difference of level. 1 caught a large number of 
fishes in the neighborhood of Suez. I passed a copper 
ring through their tails, and threw them back into the sea. 
Some months later, on the coast of Syria, I caught some 
of my fish ornamented with the ring. Thus the commu- 
nication between the two was proved. I then sought for 
it with my Nautilus; I discovered it, ventured into it, and 
before long, sir, you too will have passed through my 
Arabian Tunnel!" 



That same evening," in 21° 30' north latitude, the Nau- 
tilus floated on the surface of the sea, approaching the 
Arabian coast. I saw Djeddah, the most important count- 
ing-house of Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and India. I dis- 
tinguished clearly enough its buildings, the vessels anchored 
at the quays, and those whose draught of water obliged 
them to anchor in the roads. The sun, rather low oti the 
horizon, struck full on the houses of the town, bringing 
out their whiteness. Outside, some wooden cabins, and 
some made of reeds, showed the quarter inhabited by the 


Bedouins. Soon Djeddali was shut out from yiew by the 
shadows of night, and the Nautilus found herself under 
water slightly phosphorescent. 

The next day, the 10th of February, we sighted several 
ships running to windward. The Kautilus returned to its 
submarine navigation; but at noon, when her bearings 
were taken, the sea being deserted, she rose again to her 

Accompanied by Ned and Conseil, 1 seated myself on 
the platform. The coast on the eastern side looked like a 
mass faintly printed upon a damp fog. 

We were leaning on the sides of the pinnace, talking of 
one thing and another, when Ned Land, stretching out his 
hand toward a spot on the sea, said : 

" Do you see anytning there, sir?" 

''No, Ned," I replied; *' but I have not your eyes, you 

"Look well," said Ned, "there, on the starboard beam, 
about the height of the lantern! Do you not see a mass 
wliicii seems to move?" 

" Certainly," said I, after close attention; " I see some- 
thing like a long black body on the top of the water." 

And certainly before long the black object was not more 
than a mile from us. It looked like a great sandbank 
deposited in the open sea. It was a gigantic dugongi 

Ned Land looked eagerly. His eyes shone with cov- 
etousness at the sight of the animal. His hand seemed 
ready to harpoon it. One would have thought he was 
awaiting the moment to throw himself into the sea, and 
attack it in its element. 

At this moment Captain Nemo appeared on the plat- 
form. He saw the dugong, understood the Canadian's 
attitude, and addressing him, said: 

"If you had a harpoon just now, Master Land, would 
it not burn your hand?" 

"Just so, sir." 

" And you would not be sorry to go back for one day, 
to your trade of fisherman, and to add this cetacean to the 
list of those you have already killed?" 

"I should not, sir." 

"Well, you oftn try." 

" Thank you, sir," said Ned Land, his eyes flaming. 


" Only," continncd tlio cjijTtiiin, " I advise you, for your 
own sake, not to miss the creature." 

•^'Is the dugong dangerous to attack?" I asked, in spite 
of the Canadian's shrug of the shoulders. 

"Yes," replied the captain, ''sometimes the animal 
turns upon.* its assailants aud overturns their boat. But 
for Master Land^ this danger is n,ot to be feared. His eye 
is prompt, his arm sure." 

At this moment seven men of the crew, mute and im- 
movable as ever, mounted the platform. One carried a 
harpoon and a line similar to those employed in catching 
whales. The pinnace was lifted from the bridge, pulled 
from its socket, and let down into the sea. Six oarsmen 
took their seats, and the coxswain went to the tiller. Ned, 
Conseil, and I went to the back of the boat, 

"You are not coming, Captain?" I asked. 

" No, sir; but I wish you good sport." 

The boat put off, and, lifted by the six rowers, drew 
rapidly toward the dugong, which floated about two miles 
from the Nautilus. 

Arrived some cables' length from the cetacean, the speed 
slackened, and the oars dipped noiselessly into the quiet 
waters. Ned Land, harpoon in hand, stood in the fore 
part of the boat. The harpoon for striking the ^Vllale is 
generally attached to a very long cord, which runs out 
rapidly as the wounded creature draws it after him. But 
here the cord was not more than ten fathoms long, and 
the extremity was attached to a small barrel, which, by 
floating,' was to show the course the dugong took under 
the water. 

I stood, and carefully wntched the Canadian's adversary. 
This dugong, which also bears the names of the halicore, 
closely resembles the manatee; its oblong body terminated 
in a lengthened tail, and its lateral fins in perfect fingers. 
Itj difference from the manatee consisted in its upper jaw, 
which was armed with two long and pointed teeth, which 
formed on each side diverging tusks. 

This dugong, which Ned Land was preparing to attack, 
was of colossal dimensions?; it was more than seven yards 
long. It did not move and seemed to be sleeping on the 
waves, which circumstance made it easier to capture. 

The boat approached within six yards of the animal. 
The oars rested on the rowlocks. I half rose. Ned Land, 


his body thrown a little back, brandished the harpoon in 
his experienced hand. 

Suddenly a hissing noise was heard, and the dugong 
disappeared. The harpoon, although thrown with great 
force, had apparently only struck the water. 

"Curse it!" exclaimed the Canadian furiously; ''I have 
missed it!'* 

*' No," said I; "the creature is wounded — look at the 
blood; but your weapon has not stuck in his body." 

"My harpoon! my harpoon!" cried Ned Land. 

The sailors rowed on, and the coxswain made for the 
floating barrel. The harpoon regained, we followed in 
pursuit of the animal. 

The latter came now and then to the surface to breathe. 
Its wound had not weakened it, for it shot onward with 
great rapidity. 

The boat, rowed by strong arms, flew on its track. 
Several times it approached within some few yards, and 
the Canadian was ready to strike, but the dugong made 
off with a sudden plunge, and it was impossible to reach it. 

Imagine the passion which excited impatient Ned Land! 
He hurled at the unfortunate creature the most energetic 
expletives in the English tongue.. For my parti was ouIjj 
vexed to see the dugong escape all our attacks. 

We pursued it without relaxation for an hour, and I 
began to think it would prove difficult to capture, when 
the animal, possessed with the perverse idea of vengeance, 
of which he had cause to repent, turned upon the pin- 
nace and assailed us in its turn. 

This maneuver did not escape the Canadian. 

" Look out!" he cried. 

The coxswain said some words in his outlandish tongue, 
doubtless warning the men to keep on their guard. 

The dugong came within twenty feet of the boat, stopped, 
sniffed the air, briskly with its large nostrils (not pierced 
at the extremity, but in the upper part of its muzzle). 
Then taking a spring, he threw himself upon us. 

The pinnace could not avoid the shock, and half upset, 
shipped at least two tons of water, which had to be 
emptied; but thanks to the coxswain, we caught it side- 
ways, not full front, so we were not quite overturned. 
While Ned Lang, clinging to the bows, belabored the 
gigantic animal with blows from his harpoon, the creature's 


teeth were buried in the gunwale, and it lifted the whole 
thing out of the water>iis a lion does a roebuck. We were 
upset over one another, an^'I know not how the adventure 
would have ended, if the Canailian, still enraged with the 
beast, had not struck it to the n^v%. ' 

I heard its teeth grind on the iron^M|^s, and the dugong 
disappeared, carrying the harpoon^l(||^hirn. But the 
barrel soon returned to the service, and TWiprtly after tlie 
body of the animal, turned on its back. The boat came 
up with it, took it in tow, and made straight for the 

It required tackle of enormous strength to hoist the 
dugong on to the platform. It weighed 10,000 lbs. 

The next day, February 11th, the larder of the Nautilus 
was enriched by some more delicate game. A flight of sea- 
swallows rested on the Nautilus. It was a species of the 
Sterna nilotica, peculiar to Egypt; its beak is black, head 
gray and pointed, the eye surrounded by white spots, the 
back, wings, and tail of a grayish color, the belly and 
throat white, and claws red. They also took some dozen 
of Nile ducks, a wild bird of high flavor, its throat and 
upper part of the head white with black spots. 

About five o'clock in the evening we sighted to the north 
the Cape of Ras-Mohammed. This cape forms the ex- 
tremity of Arabia Petrsea, comprised between the Gulf of 
Suez and the Gulf of Acabah. 

The Nautilus penetrated into the Straits of Jubal, which 
leads to the Gulf of Suez. I distinctly saw a high mount- 
ain, towering between the two gulfs of Ras-Mohammed. 
It was Mount Horeb, that Sinai at the top of which Moses 
saw God face to face. 

At six o'clock the Nautilus, sometimes floating, some- 
times immersed, passed some distance from Tor, situated 
at the end of the bay, the waters of which seemed tinted 
with red, an observation already made by Captain Nemo. 
Then night fell in the midst of a heavy silence, sometimes 
broken by the cries of the pelican and other night birds, 
and the noise of the waves breaking upon the shore, chaf- 
ing against the rocks, or the panting of some far-off 
steamer beating uhe waters of the gulf with its noisy 

From eight to nine o'clock the Nautilus remained some 
fathoms under the water. According to my calculatioK 

20,000 LEAGUES UNDEll THE SEAS. 171 

we must have been very near Suez. Tlirougli the panel of 
the saloon I saw the bottom of the rocks brilliantly lit up 
by our electric lamp. We seemed to be leaving the straits 
behind us more and more. 

At a quarter past nine, the vessel having returned to 
the surface, I mounted the platform. Most impatient to 
pass through Captain Nemo's tunnel, I could not stay in 
one place, so came to breathe the fresh night-air. 

Soon in the shadow I saw a pale liglit, half discolored 
by the fog, shining about a mile from us. 

" A floating lighthouse!" said some one near me. 

I turned, and saw the captain. 

** It is the floating light of Suez," he continued. "It 
will not be long before we gain the entrance of the tunnel." 

" The entrance cannot be easy?" 

" No, sir; and for that reason I am accustomed to go 
into the steersman's cage, and myself direct our course. 
And now, if you Avill go down, M. Aronnax, the Nautilus 
is going under the waves, and will not return to the sur- 
face until we have passed through the Arabian Tunnel." 

Captain Nemo led me toward the central staircase; half- 
way down he opened a door, traversed the underdeck, and 
landed in the pilot's cage, which it may be remembered 
rose at the extremity of the platform. It Avas a cabin 
measuring six feet square, very much like that occupied 
by the pilot on the steamboats of the Mississippi or Hud- 
son. In the midst worked a wheel, placed vertically, and 
caught to the tiller-rope, which ran to the back of the 
Nautilus. Four light-ports with lenticular glasses, let in 
a groove in the partition of the cabin, allowed the man at 
the wheel to see in all directions. 

This cabin was dark; but soon my eyes accustomed them- 
selves to the obscurity, and I perceived the pilot, a strong 
man, with his hands resting on the spokes of the wheel. 
Outside, the sea appeared vividly lit up by the lantern, 
which shed its rays from the back of the cabin to the other 
extremity of the platform. 

"Now," said Captain Nemo, "let us try to make our 

Electric wires connected the pilot's cage with the ma- 
chinery-room, and from there the captain could com- 
municate simultaneously to his Nautilus the direction and 


the speed. He pressed a metal knob; and at once the 
speed of the screw diminished. 

I looked in silence at the high straight wall we were 
running by at this moment, tlie immovable base of a mass- 
ive sandy coast. We followed it thus for an hour only 
some few yards off. 

Captain Nemo did not take his eye from the knob, sus- 
pended by its two concentric circles in the cabin. At a 
simple gesture, the pilot modified the course of the Nau- 
tilus every instant. 

1 had placed myself at the port-scuttle, and saw some 
magnificent substructures of coral, zoophytes, seaweed, 
and fucus, agitating their enormous claws, which stretched 
out from the fissures of the rock. 

At a quarter past ten, the captain himself took the helm. 
A large gallery, black and deep, opened before us. The 
Nautilus went boldly into it. A strange roaring was heard 
round its sides. It was the waters of the Bed Sea, which 
the incline of the tunnel precipitated violently toward the 
Mediterranean. The Nautilus went with the torrent, 
rapid as an arrow, in spite of the efforts of the machinery, 
which, in order to offer more effective resistance, beat the 
waves with reversed screw. 

On the walls of the narrow passage I could see nothing 
but brilliant rays, straight lines, furrows of fire, traced by 
the great speed, under the brilliant electric light. My 
heart beat fast. 

At thirty-five minutes past ten. Captain Nemo quitted 
the helm; and, turning to me, said: 

''The Mediterranean!" 

In less than twenty minutes, the Nautilus, carried 
along by the torrent, had passed through the Isthmus of 



The next day, the 12th of February, at the dawn of day, 
the Nautilus rose to the surface. I hastened on to the 
platform. Three miles to the south the dim outline of 
Pelusium was to be seen. A torrent had carried us from 
one sea to the other. About seven o'clock Ned and Con- 
deil joined me. 

20,000 LEAGUES UNDEll THE SEAS. 173 

"Well, Sir Nsituralist," said the Canadian, in a slightly 
jovial tone, ''and the Mediterranean?" 

" We are floating on its surface, friend Ned." 

" What!" said Conseil, " this very night." 

" Yes, this very night; in a few minutes we have passed 
this impassable isthmus." 

"I do not believe it," replied the Canadian. 

"Then you are wrong, Master Land," I continued; 
"this low coast which rounds off to the south, is the 
Egyptian coast. And you, who have such good eyes, liied, 
you can see the jetty of Port Said stretching into the sea." 

The Canadian looked attentively. 

" Certainly you are right, sir, and your captain is a first- 
rate man. We are in the Mediterranean. Good! Now 
if you please, let us talk of our little affair, but so that no 
one hears us." 

I saw what the Canadian Avanted, and, in any case, I 
thought it better to let him talk, as he wished it; so we all 
three went and sat down near the lantern, where we were 
less exposed to the spray of the blades. 

"Now, Ned, we listen; what have you to tell us?" 

" AVhat I have to tell you is very simple. We are in 
Europe; and before Captain Nemo's caprices drag us once 
more to the bottom of the Polar seas, or lead us into 
Oceanica, I ask to leave the Nautilus." 

I wished in no way to shackle the liberties of my com- 
panions, but I certainly felt no desire to leave Captain 

Thanks to him, and thanks to his apparatus, I was each 
day nearer the completion of my submarine studies; and I 
was re-writing my book of submarine depths in its very 
element. Should I ever again have such an opportunity 
of observing the wonders of the ocean? No, certainly not! 
And I could not bring myself to the idea of abandoning 
the Nautilus before the cycle of investigation was accom- 

"Friend Ned, answer me frankly, are you tired of being 
on board? Are you sorry that destiny has thrown us into 
Captain Nemo's hands?" 

The Canadian remained some moments without answer- 
ing. Then crossing his arms, he said: 

"Frankly, I do not regret this journey under the seas. 


I shall be glad to have made it; but now that it is made, 
let us have done with it. That is my idea." 

"It will come to an end, Ned." 

" Where and when?" 

** Where I do not know, when I cannot say; or, rather, 
I suppose it will end when these seas have nothing more 
to teach us." 

" Then what do you hope for?" demanded the Cana- 

"That circumstances may occur as well six months 
hence as now by which we may and ought to profit." 

" Oh," said Ned Land, " and where shall we be in six 
months, if you please. Sir Naturalist." 

"Perhaps in China; you know the Nautilus is a rapid 
traveler. It goes through water as swallows through the 
air, or as an express on the land. It does not fear fre- 
quented seas; who can say tluit it may not beat the coast 
of France, England, or America, on which flight may be 
attempted as advantageously as here." 

" M. Aronnax," replied the Canadian, "your argu- 
ments are rotten at the foundation. You speak in the 
future, * We shall be there! we shall be here?' I speak in 
the present, * We are here, and we must profit by it.' " 

Ned Land's logic pressed me hard, and I felt myself 
beaten on that ground. I knew not what argument would 
now tell in my favor. 

"Sir," continued Ned, "let us suppose an impossi- 
bility; if Captain Nemo should this day offer you your 
liberty, would you accept it?" 

"I do not know," I answered. 

" And if," he added, " the offer he made you this day 
was never to be renewed, would you accept it?" 

" Friend Ned, this is my answer. Your reasoning is 
against me. We must not rely on Captain Nemo's good- 
will. Common prudence forbids him to set us at liberty. 
On the other side, prudence bids us profit by the first 
opportunity to leave the Nautilus." 

" Well, M. Aronnax, that is wisely said." 

" Only one observation — just one. The occasion must 
be serious, and our first attempt must succeed, if it fails, 
we shall never find another, and Captain Nemo will never 
forgive us." 

"All that is true," replied the Canadian. "But your 


observation applies equally to all attempts at flight, whether 
in two years' time, or two days. But the question is still 
this; if a favorable opportunity presents itself, it must be 

"Agreed! and now, Ned, will you tell me what you 
mean by a favorable opportunity?" 

"It will be that which, on a dark night, will bring the 
Nautilus a short distance from some European coast." 

" And you will try and save yourself by swimming?" 

" Yes, if we were near enough to the bank, and if the 
vessel was floating at the time. Not if the bank was far 
away, and the boat was under the water." 

" And in that case?" 

" In that ease, I should seek to make myself master of 
the pinnace. I know how it is worked. We must get in- 
side, and the bolts once drawn, we shall come to the sur- 
face of the water, without even the pilot, who is in the 
bows, perceiving our flight." 

" Well, Ned, watch for the opportunity; but do notfor- 
gec that a hitch will ruin us." 

" I will not forget, sir." 

"And now, Ned, would you like to know what I think 
of your project?" 

" Certainly, M. Aronnax." 

" Well, I think — I do not say I hope — I think that this 
favorable opportunity will never present itself." 

"Why not?" 

" Because Captain Nemo cannot hide from himself that 
we have not given up all hope of regaining our liberty, 
and he will be on his guard, above all, in the seas, and in 
the sight of European coasts." 

" We shall see," replied Ned Land, shaking his head 

'•And now, Ned Land," I added, "let us stop here. 
Not another word on the subject. The day that you are 
ready, come and let us know, and we will follow you. I 
rely entirely upon you." 

Thus ended a conversation which, at no very distant 
time, led to such grave results. I must say here that facts 
seemed to confirm my foresight, to the Canadian's great 
despair. Did Captain Nemo distrust us in these frequented 
seas? or did he only wish to hide himself from the numer- 
ous vessels, of all nations, which plowed the Mediterra- 


nean? I could not tell; but we were oftener between 
waters, and far from the coast. Or, if the Nautilus did 
emerge, nothing was to be seen but the pilot's cage; and 
sometimes it went to great depths, for, between the Gre- 
cian Archipelago and Asia Minor, we could not touch the 
botton by more than a thousand fathoms. 

Thus I only knew we were near the island of Oarpathos, 
one of the Sporades, by Captain Nemo reciting these lines 
from Virgil — 

" Est in Carpathio Neptuni gurgite vates, 
Cseruleus Proteus," 

as he pointed to a spot on the planisphere. 

It was indeed the ancient abode of Proteus, the old 
shepherd of Neptune's flocks, now the island of Scarpanto, 
situated between Rhodes and Crete. I saw nothing but 
the granite base through the glass panels of the saloon. 

The next day, the 14th of February, I resolved to em- 
ploy some hours in studying the fishes of the Archipelago; 
but, for some reason or other, the panels remained her- 
metically sealed. Upon taking the course of the Nautilus, 
I found that we were going toward Candia, the ancient 
Isle of Crete. At the time I embarked on the Abra- 
ham Lincoln, the whole of this island had risen in insur- 
rection against the despotism of the Turks. But how the 
insurgents had fared since that time I was absolutely ig- 
norant, and it was not Captain Nemo, deprived of all land 
communications, who could tell me. 

I made no allusion to this event when that night I found 
myself alone with him in the saloon. Besides he seemed 
to be tactiturn and preoccupied. Then contrary to his 
custom, he ordered both panels to be opened, and going 
from one to the other, observed the mass of Vaters attent- 
ively. To what end I could not guess; so, on my side, I 
employed my time in studying the fish passing before my 

Amongst others, I remarked some gobies, mentioned by 
Aristotle, and commonly known by the name of sea- 
braches, which are more particularly met with in the salt 
waters lying near the Delta of the Nile. Near them rolled 
some sea-bream, half phosphorescent, a kind of sparus, 
which the Egyptians ranked amongst their sacred animals, 
whose arrival in the waters of their river announced a fer- 


tile overflow, ami was celebrated by religious ceremonies. I 
also noticed some cheilines about nine inches long, a bony 
fish with transparent shell, whose livid color is mixed 
with red spots; they are great eaters of marine vegetation, 
which gives them an exqusite flavor. These cheilines 
were much sought after by the epicures of ancient Rome; 
the inside dressed with the soft roe of the lamprey, pea- 
cock's brains, and tongues of the phenicoptera, composed 
that divine dish of which Vitellius was so enamored. 

Another inhabitant of these seas drew my attention, and 
led my mind back to recollections of antiquity. It was the 
remora, that fastens on to the shark's belly. This little 
fish, according to the ancients, hooking on to the ship's 
bottom, could stop its movements; and one of them, by 
keeping back Antony's ship during the battle of Actium, 
helped Augustus to gain the victory. On how little hangs 
the destiny of nations! I observed some fine anthiae, which 
belong to the order of lutjans, a fish held sacred by the 
Greeks, who attributed to them the power of hunting the 
marine monsters from waters they frequented. Their 
name signifies ^y^ower, and they justify their appellation by 
their shaded colors, their shades comprising the whole 
gamut of reds, from the paleness of the rose to the bright- 
ness of the ruby, and the fugitive tints that clouded their 
dorsal fin. My eyes could not leave these wonders of the 
sea, when they were suddenly struck by an unexpected ap- 

In the midst of the waters a man appeared, a diver, 
carrying at his belt a leathern purse. It was not a body 
abandoned to the waves; it was a living man, swimming 
with a strong hand, disappearing occasionally to take 
breach at the surface. 

I turned toward Captain Nemo, and in an agitated voice 
exclaimed : 

" A man shipwrecked! He must be saved at any price!" 

The captain did not answer me, but came and leaned 
against the panel. 

The man had approached, and with his face flattened 
against the glass was looking at us. 

To my great amazement, Captain Nemo signed to him. 
The driver answered with his hand, mounted immediately 
to the surface of the water, and did not appear again. 

" Do not be uncomfortable," said Captain Nemo. ** It 


is Nicholas of Cape Matapan, surnamed Pesca. He is 
well known in all the Cyclades. A bold diver! water is liis 
element, and he lives more in it than on land, going con- 
tinnally from one island to another, even as far as Crete." 

"You know him, Captain?" 

"Why not, M. Aronnax?" 

Saying which, Cuptam Nemo went toward a piece of 
fiirnitnre standing near tlie left panel of the saloon. Near 
this piece of furniture, I saw a chest bound with iron, on 
the cover of which was a copper plate, bearing the cipher 
of the Nautilus with its device. 

At that moment, tiie captain, without noticing my pres- 
ence, opened the piece of furniture, a sort of strong box, 
which held a great many ingots. 

They were ingots of gold. From whence came this 
]irecioiis metal, which represented an enormous sum? 
Where did the captain gather this gold from? and what 
was he going to do with it? 

I did not say one word. I looked. Captain Nemo took 
tlie ingots one by one, and arranged them methodically in 
the chest, which he filled entirely. I estimated the con- 
tents at more more than 4,000 lbs. weight of gold, that is 
to say, nearly £200,000. 

The chest was securely fastened, and the captain wrote 
an address on the lid, in characters which must have be- 
longed to Modern Greece. 

This done, Captain Nemo pressed a knob, the wire of 
whicii communicated with the quarters of the crew. Four 
men appeared, and, not without some trouble, pushed the 
chest out of the saloon. Then I heard them hoisting it 
up the iron staircase by means of pulleys. 

At that moment. Captain Nemo turned to me. 

" And you were saying, sir?" said he. 

" I was saying nothing. Captain." 

*' Then, sir, if you will allow me, I will wish you good 

Whereupon he turned and left the saloon. 

I returned to my I'oom, much troubled, as one may be- 
lieve. I vainly tried to sleep — I sought the connecting 
link between the apparition of the diver and the chest 
filled with gold. Soon I felt by certain movements of 
pitching and tossing, that the Nautilus was leaving the 
depths and returning to the surface. 


Then I heard steps upon tlie platform; and I knew 
they were unfastening tiie pinnace, and launching it 
upon the waves. For one instant it struck the side of the 
Nautilus, then all noise ceased. 

Two hours after, the same noise, the same going and 
coming vvas renewed; the boat was hoisted ou board, re- 
placed in its socket, and the Nautilus again plunged under 
the waves. 

So these millions had been transported to their address. 
To what point of the continent? Who was Captain Nemo's 

The next day I related to Conseil and the Canadian the 
«vents of the night, which had excited my curiosity to the 
liighest degree. My companions were not less surprised 
than myself. 

" But where does he take his millions to?" asked Ned 

To that there was no possible answer. I returned to 
the saloon after having breakfast, and set to work. Till 
five o'clock in the evening I employed myself in arranging 
my notes. At that moment (ought I to attribute it to 
some peculiar idiosyncrasy?) I felt so great a Inat that I 
was obliged to take off my coat of byssus! It was strange, 
for we were not under low latitudes; and even then, tlie 
Nautilus, submerged as it was, ought to experience no 
change of temperature. I looked at the manometer; it 
showed a depth of sixty feet, to which atmospheric heat 
eould never attain. , 

I continued my work, but the temperature rose to 
such a pitch as to be intolerable. 

" Could there be fire on board?" I asked myself. 

I was leaving the saloon, when Captain Nemo entered; 
he approached the thermometer, consulted it, and turning 
to me said: 

"Forty-two degrees." 

" I have noticed it. Captain," I replied; *' and if it gets 
much hotter we cannot bear it." 

•'* 0, sir, it will not get hotter if we do not wish it!" 

" You can reduce it as you please, then?" 

"No; but I can go further from the stove which pro- 
duces it." \ 

" It is onward then?" 

"Certainly; we are floating in a current of boiling water," 

180 20,000 LEAGUES UlJDEll THE SEAS. 

*'Is it possible!" I exclaimed. 

" Look." 

The panels opened, and I saw the sea entirely white all 
around. A sulphurous smoke was curling amid the 
waves, which boiled like water in a copper. I placed my 
hand on one of the panes of glass, but the heat was so 
great that I quickly took it off again. 

" Where are we?" I asked. 

" Near the Island of Santorin, sir," replied the captain, 
" and just in the canal which separates Nea Kamenni 
from Pali Kamenni. I wished to give you a sight of the 
curious spectacle of a submarine eruption." 

" I thouglit," said I, " that the formation of these new 
islands was ended." 

'* Nothing is ever ended in the volcanic parts of the 
sea," replied Captain Nemo; ''.-ind the globe is always 
being worked by subterranean fires. Already, in the nine- 
teenth year of our era, according to Cassiodorus and Pliny, 
a new island, Tlieia (the divine), appeared in the very 
place where these islets have recently been formed. Then 
they sank under the waves, to rise again in the year 69, 
when they again subsided. Since that time to our days, 
the Plutonian work has been suspended. But, on the 3d 
of February, 1866, a new island, which they named G-eorge 
Island, emerged from the midst of the sulpliurous vapor 
near Nea Kamenni, and settled again the sixth of the 
same month. Seven days after, the 13th of February, the 
island of Aphroessa appeared, leaving between Nea Ka- 
menni and itself a canal ten yards broad. I was in these 
seas when the phenomenon occurred, and I was able there- 
fore to observe all the different phases. The island of 
Aphroessa, of round form, measured 300 feet in diameter, 
and thirty feet in height. It was composed of black and 
vitreous lava, mixed with fragments of feldspar. And 
lastly, on the 10th of March, a smaller island, called Reka, 
sliowed itself near Nea Kamenni, and since then these 
three have joined together, forming but one and the same 

"And the canal in which we are at this moment?" I 

*' Here it is," replied Captain Nemo, showing me a 
map of the Archipelago. "You see I have marked the 
new islands," 


I returned to the glass.. The Nautilus was no longer 
moving, the heat was becoming unbearable. The sea, 
which till now had been white, was red, owing to the 
presence of salts of iron. In spite of the ship's being her- 
metically sealed, an insupportable smell of sulphur filled 
the saloon, and the brilliancy of the electricity was entirely 
extinguished by bright scarlet flames. I was in a bath, 1 
was choking, I was broiled. 

" We can remain no longer in this boiling water," said 
I to tiie captain. 

" It would not be prudent," replied the impassive Cap- 
tain Nemo. 

An order was given; the Nautilus tacked about and left 
the furnace it could not brave with impunity. A quarter 
of im hour after we were breathing fresh air on the sur- 
face. The thought then struck me that, if Ned Land had 
chosen this part of tlie sea for our flight, we should never 
have come alive out of this sea of fire. 

The next day, the 16th of February, we left the basin 
which, between Rhodes and Alexandria, is reckoned about 
1,500 fathoms in depth, and the Nautilus, passing some 
distance from Cerigo, quitted the Grecian Archipelago, 
after having doubled Cape Matapan, 



The Mediterranean, the blue sea par excellence, "the 
great sea " of the Hebrews, " the sea " of the Greeks, the 
*' mare nostrum " of the Romans, bordered by orange- 
trees, aloes, cacti, and sea-pines; embalmed with the per- 
fume of the myrtle, surrounded by rude mountains, sat- 
urated with pure and transparent air, but incessantly 
worked by underground fires, a perfect battle-field in 
which Neptune and Pluto still dispute the empire of the 

It is upon these banks,'and on these waters, 'says Michelet, 
that man is renewed in one of the most powerful climates 
of the globe. But beautiful as it was, I could only take a 
rapid glance at the basm whose superficial area is two 
millions of square yards, Even Captain Nemo's knowl- 


edge was lodt to me, for this enigmatical person did not 
appear once during our passage at full speed. I estimated 
the course which the isautilus took under the waves of 
the sea at about six hundred leagues, and it was accom- 
plished in forty-eight liours. Starting on the morning of 
the 16th of February from the shores of Greece, we had 
crossed the Straits of Gibraltar by sunrise on the 18th. 

It was plain to me that this Mediterranean, inclosed in 
the midst of those countries which he wished to avoid, 
was distasteful to Captain Nemo. Those waves and those 
breezes brouglit back too many remembrances, if not too 
many regrets. Here he had no longer that independence 
and that liberty of gait which he had when in the open 
seas, and his Nautilus felt itself cramped between the close 
shores of Africa and Europe. 

Our speed was now twenty-five miles an hour. Itlhay 
be well understood that Ned Land, to his great disgust, 
was obliged to renounce his intended flight. He could 
not launch the pin<iace, going at the rate of twelve or 
thirteen yards every second. To quit the Nautilus undei* 
such conditions would be as bad as jumping from a train 
at full speed — an imprudent thing, to say the least of it. 
Besides, our vessel only mounted to the surface of the 
waves at night to reneAV its stock of air; it was steered 
entirely by the compass and the log. 

I saw no more of the interior of this Mediterranean than 
a traveler by express train perceives of the landscape 
which flies before his eyes; that is to say, the distant hori- 
zon, and not the nearer objects which pass like a flash of 

In the midst of the mass of waters brightly lit up by 
the electric light glided some of those lampreys, more than 
a yard long, common to almost every climate. Some of 
the oxyrhynchi, a kind of ray five feet broad, with white 
belly and gray spotted back, spread out like a large shawl 
carried along by the current. Other rays passed so quickly 
that I could not see if they deserved the name of eagles 
which was given to them by the ancient Greeks, or the 
qualification of rats, toads, and bats with which modern 
fishermen have loaded them. A few milander sharks, 
twelve feet long, and much feared by divers, struggled 
amongst them. Sea- foxes eight feet long, endowed with 
wonderful fineness of scent, appeared like large blue 


shadows. Some dorados of the shark kind, some of which 
measured seven feet and a half, showed themselves in 
their dress of blue and silver, encircled by small bands 
which struck sharply against the somber tints of their fins, 
a fish consecrated to Venus, the eyes of which are incased 
in a socket of gold; a precious species, friend of all waters, 
fresh or salt, an inhabitant of rivers, lakes, and oceans, 
living in all climates, and bearing all temperatures; a race 
belonging to the geological era of the earth, and which 
has preserved all the beauty of its first days. Magnificent 
sturgeons,' nine or ten yards long, creatures of great speed, 
striking the panes of glass with their strong tails, dis- 
played their bluish backs with small brown spots; they 
resemble the sharks, but are not equal to them in strength, 
and^are to be met with in all seas. But of all the diverse 
inhabitants of the Mediterranean, those I observed to the 
greatest advantage, when the Nautilus approached the 
surface, belonged to the sixty-third genus of bony fish. 
They were a kind of tunny, with bluish black backs, and 
silvery breastplates, whose dorsal fins threw out sparkles 
of gold. They are said to follow in the wake of vessels, 
whose refreshing shade they seek from the fire of a tropi- 
cal sky, and they did not belie the saying, for they accom- 
panied the Nautilus as they did in former times the vessel 
of La Perouse, For many a long hour they struggled to 
keep up with our vessel. I was never tired of admiring 
these creatures really built for speed — their small heads, 
their bodies lithe and cigar-shaped, which in some were 
more than three yards long, their pectoral fins, and forked 
tail endowed with remarkable strength. They swam in a 
triangle, like certain flocks of birds, whose rapidity they 
equaled, and of which the ancients used to say that they 
understood geometry and strategy. But still they do not 
escape the pursuit of the proven9als, who esteem them as 
highly as the inhabitants of the Propontis and of Italy 
used to do; and these precious but blind and foolhardy 
creatures perish by millions in the nets of the Marseil- 

With regard to the species of fish common to the At- 
lantic and the Mediterranean, the giddy speed of the 
JSTautilus prevented me from observing them with any de- 
gree of accuracy. 

As to marine mammals, I thought, in passing the en- 


trance of tlio Adriiitic, that I saw two or tlireo cachalots, 
furnishod witli one dorsal fin, of the genus physetera, 
some dolphins of the genus globicephali, peculiar to the 
Mediterranean, the back part of the head being marked 
like a zebra with small lines; also a dozen of seals, with 
white bellies and black hair, known by the name of monks, 
and which really have the air of a Dominican; they are 
about three yards in length. 

As to zoophytes, for some instants I was able to admire 
a beautiful orange galeolaria, which had fastened itself to 
the port panel; it held on by a long filament, and was 
divided into an infinity of branches, terminated by the 
finest lace which could ever have been woven by the rivals 
of Arachne herself. Unfortunately, I could not take this 
specimen; and doubtless no other Mediterranean zoophyte 
would have offered itself to my observation, if on the 
night of the sixteenth, the Nautilus had not, singularly 
enough, slackened its speed, under the following circum- 

We were then passing between Sicily and the coast of 
Tunis. In the narrow space between Cape Bon and the 
Straits of Messina, the bottom of the sea rose almost sud- 
denly. There was a perfect bank, on which there was not 
more than nine fathoms of water, whilst on either side the 
depth was ninety fathoms. 

The Nautilus had to maneuver very carefully so as not . 
to strike against this submarine barrier. 

I showed Conseil on the map of the Mediterranean the 
spot occupied by this reef. 

" But if you please, sir," observed Conseil, " it is like a 
real isthmus joining Europe to Africa." 

" Yes, my boy, it forms a perfect bar to the Straits of 
Lybia, and the soundings of Smith have proved that in 
former times the continents between Cape Boco and Cape 
Furina were joined." 

" I can well believe it," said Conseil. 

"I will add," I continued, "that a similar barrier exists 
between Gibraltar and Ceuta, which in geological times 
formed the entire Mediterranean." 

" What if some volcanic burst should one day raise these 
two barriers above the waves?" 

**It is not probable, Conseil." 

**Well, but allow me to finish, please, sir; if this phe* 


iiomenon should take place, it will be troublesome for 
'^\. Lesseps, who has taken so much pains to pierce the 

"I agree with you; but I repeat, Conseil, this phenom- 
enon will never happen. The violence of subterranean 
force is ever diminishing. Volcanoes so plentiful in the 
first days of the world, are being extinguished by degrees; 
the internal heat is weakened, the temperature of the 
lower strata of the globe is lowered by a perceptible quan- 
tity every century to the detriment of our gA)be, for its 
heat is its life." I T 

'•But the sun?" 

"The sun is not suflScient, Conseil. Can it give heat to 
a dead body?" 

"Not that I know of." 

" Well, my friend, this earth will one day be that cold 
corpse; it will become uninhabitable and uninhabited like 
the moon, which has long since lost all its vital heat." 

"In how many centuries?" 

" In some hundreds of thousands of years, my boy." 

" Then," said Conseil, " we shall have time to finish our 
journey, that is, if Ned Land does not interfere with it." 

And Conseil, reassured, returned to the study of the 
bank, which the Nautilus was skirting at a moderate speed. 

There, beneath the rocky and volcanic bottom, lay out- 
spread a living flora of sponges and reddish cydippes, which 
emitted a slight jDhosphorescent light, commonly known 
by the name of sea-cucumbers; and walking comatulas 
more than a yard long, the purple of which completely 
colored the water around. 

The Nautilus having now passed the high bank in the 
Lybian Straits, returned to the deep waters and its accus- 
tomed speed. 

From that time no more molluscs, no more articulates, 
no more zoophytes; barely a few large fish passing like 

During the night of the 16th and 17th February, we 
had entered the second Mediterranean basin, the greatest 
depth of which was 1,450 fathoms. The Nautilus, by the 
action of its screw, slid down the inclined planes, and 
buried itself in the lowest depths of the sea. 

On the 18th of February, about three o'clock in the 
morning, we were at the entrance of the Straits ol Gib' 


raltar. There once existed two currents, — an upper one^ 
long since recognized, which conveys the waters of the 
ocean into tlie basin of the Mediterranean; and a lower 
counter-current, which reasoning has now shown to exist. 
Indeed, the volume of water in tiie Mediterranean, inces- 
santly added to by the waves of the Atlantic, and by rivers 
falling into it, would each year raise the level of this sea, 
for its evaporation is not. sufficient to restore the equilib- 
rium. As it is not so, we must necessarily admit the ex- 
istence of an under-current, which empties into the basin 
of the Atlantic, through the Straits of Gibraltar, the sur- 
plus waters of the Mediterranean. A fact, indeed; and it 
was this counter-current by which the Nautilus profited. 
It advanced rapidly by the narrow pass. For one instant 
I caught a glimpse of the beautiful ruins of the temple of 
Hercules, buried in the ground, according to Pliny, and 
with the low island which supports it; and a few minutes 
later we were floating on the Atlantic. 



The Atlantic! a vast sheet of water, whose superficial 
area covers twenty-five millions of square miles, the length 
of which is nine thousand miles, with a mean breadth of 
two thousaaid seven hundred — an ocean whose parallel 
winding shores embrace an immense circumference, 
watered by the largest rivers of the world, the St. Law- 
rence, the Mississippi, the Amazon, the Plata, the Orinoco, 
the Niger, the Senegal, the Elbe, the Loire, and the 
Eiiine, which carrv water from the most civilized, as well 
as from the most savage countries. Magnificent field of 
water, incessantly plowed by vessels of every nation, 
sheltered by the flags of every nation, and which termi- 
nates in those two terrible points so dreaded by mariners. 
Cape Horn and the Cape of Tempests! 

The Nautilus was piercing the water with its sharp 
spur, after having accomplished nearly ten thousand 
leagues in three months and a half, a distance greater than 
the great cii'cle of the earth. Where were we going now? 
and whnc was reserved for the future? The Nautilus, 


leaving the Straits of Gibraltar, had gone far ont. It re- 
turned to the surface of the waves, and our daily walks on 
the platform were restored to us. 

I mounted at once, accompanied by Ned Land and 
Conseil. At a distance of about twelve miles. Cape St. 
Vincent was dimly to be seen, forming the southwestern 
point of the Spanish peninsula. A strong southerly gale 
was blowing. The sea was swollen and billowy; it made 
the Nautilus rock violently. It was almost impossible to 
keep one's footing on the platform, which the heavy rolls 
of the sea beat over every instant. So we descended after 
inhaling some mouthfuls of fresh air. 

I returned to my room, Conseil to his cabin; but the 
Canadian, with a preoccupied air, followed me. Our rapid 
passage across the Mediterranean liad not allowed him to 
put his project into execution, and he could not help show-, 
ing his disappointment. When the door of my room was 
shut he sat down and looked at me silently. 

*' Friend Ned," said I, "I understand you; but you 
cannot reproach yourself. To have attempted to leave 
the Nautilus under the circumstances would have been 

Ned Land did not answer: his compressed lips "and 
frowning brow showed with him the violent possession this 
fixed idea had taken of his mind. 

"Let us see," I continued; "we need not despair yet. 
We are going up the coast of Portugal again; France and 
England are not far off, where we can easily find refuge. 
Now, if the Nautilus, on leaving the Straits of Gibraltar, 
had gone to the south, if it had carried us toward regions 
where there were no continents, I should share your un- 
easiness. But we know now that Captain Nemo does not 
fly from civilized seas, and in some days I think you can 
act with security." 

Ned Land still looked at me fixedly, at length his fixed 
lips parted, and he said, "It is for to-night." 

I drew myself up suddenly. I was, I admit, little pre- 
pared for this communication. I wanted to answer the 
Canadian, but words would not come. 

" We agreed to wait for an opportunity," continued 
Ned Land, "and the opportunity has arrived. This night 
we shall be but a few miles from the Spanish coast. It is 


cloudy. Tlie wind blows freely. I have your word, M. 
Aroimax, and I rely upon you." 

As I was still silent, the Canadian approached me. 

*' To-night, at nine o'clock," said he, "I have warned 
Conseil. At that moment Captain Nemo will be shut up 
in his room, probably in bed. Neither the engineers nor 
the ship's crew can see us. Conseil and I will gain the 
central staircase, and you, M. Aronnax, will remain in 
tlie library, two steps from us, waiting my signal. The 
oars, the mast, and the sail are in the canoe. I have 
even succeeded in getting in some provisions, I have pro- 
cured an English wrench, to unfasten the bolts which at- 
tach it to the shell of the Nautilus, So all is ready for 

" The sea is bad." 

"That I allow," replied the Canadian; "but we must 
risk that. Liberty is worth paying for; besides, the boat 
is strong, and a few miles with a fair wind to carry us is 
no great thing. Who knows but by to-morrow we may be 
a hundred leagues away? Let circumstances only favor 
us, and by ten or eleven o'clock we shall have landed on 
some spot of terra Urma, alive or dead. But adieu now 
till to-night." 

With these words the Canadian withdrew, leaving me 
almost dumb. I had imagined that, the chance gone, I 
should have time to reflect and discuss the matter. My 
obstinate companion had given me no time; and, after all, 
what could I have said to him? Ned Land was perfectly 
right. There was almost the opportunity to profit by. 
Could I retract my word, and take upon myself the re- 
sponsibility of compromising the future of my compan- 
ions? To-morrow Captain Nemo might take us far from 
all land. 

At that moment a rather loud hissing told me that the 
reservoirs were filling and that the Nautilus was sinking 
under the waves of the Atlantic. 

A sad day I passed, between the desire of regaining my 
liberty of action, and of abandoning the wonderful Nauti- 
lus, and leaving my submarine studies incomplete. 

What dreadful hours I passed thus! sometimes seeing 
myself and companions safely landed, sometimes wishing, 
in spite of my reason, that some unforeseen circumstances 
woa/.d prevent the realization of Ned Land's project. 


Twice I went to the saloon. I wished to consult the 
compass. I wished to see if the direction the Nautilus 
was taking was bringing us nearer or taking us further 
from the coast. But no; the Nautilus kept in Portuguese 

I liiust therefore take my part, and prepare for flight. 
My luggage was not heavy; my notes, nothing more. 

As to Captain Nemo, I asked myself wliat he would 
think of our escape; what trouble, what wrong it might 
cause him, and what he might do in case of its discovery 
or failure. Certainly I had no cause to complain of him"; 
on the contrary, never was hospitality freer than his. In 
leaving him I could not be taxed with ingratitude. No 
oath bound us to him. It was on the strength of circum- 
stances he relied, and not upon our word, to fix us for- 

I had not seen the captain since our visit to the Island 
of Santorin. Wou^d chance bring me to his presence 
before our departure? I wished it, and I feared it at the 
same time. I listened if I could hear him walking in the 
room contiguous to mine. No sound reached my ear. I 
felt an unbearable uneasiness. This day of waiting seemed 
eternal. Hours struck too slowly to keep pace with my 

My dinner was served in my room as usual. I ate but 
little, I was too preoccupied. I left the table at seven 
o'clock. A hundred and twenty minutes (I counted them) 
still separated me from the moment in which I was to 
join Ned Land. My agitation redoubled. My pulse beat 
violently. I could not remain quiet. I went and came, 
hoping to calm my troubled spirit by constant movement. 
The idea of failure in our bold enterprise was the least 
painful of my anxieties; but the thought of seeing our 
project discovered before leaving the Nautilus, of being 
brought before Captain Nemo, irritated, or (what was 
worse) saddened at my desertion, made my heart beat. 

I wanted to see the saloon for the last time. I de- 
scended the stairs, and arrived in the museum where I had 
passed so many useful and agreeable hours, I looked at all 
its riches, all its treasures, like a man on the eve of an 
eternal exile, who was leaving never to return. These 
wonders of nature, these master-pieces of art, amongst 
which, for so many days, my life had been concentrated, 


I was going to abandon them forever! I should like to 
liave taken a last look through the windows of the saloon 
into the waters of the Atlantic; but the panels were her- 
metically dosed, and a cloak of steel separated me from 
that ocean which I had not yet explored. 

In passing through the saloon, I came near the door, let 
into the angle, which opened into the captain's room. To 
111}- great surprise, this door was ajar. I drew back, in- 
voluntarily. If Captain Nemo should be in his room, h\ 
could see me. But, hearing no noise, I drew nearer. The 
room was deserted. I puslied open the door, and took 
some steps forward. Still the same monk-like severity of 

Suddenly the clock struck eight. The first beat of th(» 
hammer on the bell awoke me from my dreams. I trem- 
bled as if an invisible eye had plunged into my most secrev, 
tlioughts, and I hurried from the room. 

There my eye fell upon the compass. Our course was 
still north. The log indicated moderate speed, the ma- 
nometer a depth of about sixty feet. 

I returned to my room, clothed myself warmly — sea- 
boots, an otterskin cap, a greatcoat of byssus, lined with 
yealskin; I was ready, I was waiting. The vibration of 
the screw alone broke the deep silence which reigned on 
board. I listened attentively. Would no loud voice sud- 
denly inform me that Ned Land had been surprised in his 
projected flight? A mortal dread hung over me, and I 
vainly tried to regain my accustomed coolness. 

At a few minutes to nine, I put my ear to the captain's 
door. No noise. I left my room and returned to the 
saloon, which was half in obscurity, but deserted. 

I opened the door communicating with the library. 
The same insuSicient light, the same solitude. I placed 
myself near the door leading to the central staircase, and 
there waited for Ned Land's signal. 

At that moment the trembling of the screw sensibly 
diminished, then it stopped entirely. The silence wa? 
now only disturbed by the beatings of my own heart 
Suddenly a slight shock was felt; and I Ivnew that the 
Nautilus had stopped at the bottom of the ocean. My 
uneasiness increased. The Canadian's signal did not 
come. I felt inclined to join Ned Land and beg of him 


to put off his attempt. I felt that we were not sailing 
under our usual conditions. 

At this moment the door of the large saloon opened and 
Captain Nemo appeared. He saw me, and without further 
preamble, began in an amiable tone of voice: 

"Ah, sir! I have been looking for you. Do you know 
the history of Spain?" 

Now, one might know the history of one's own country 
by heart; but in the condition I was at the time, with 
troubled mind and head quite lost, I could not have said 
a word of it. 

"Well," continued Captain Nemo, "you heard my 
question? Do you know the history of Spain?" 

" Very slightly," I answered. 

"Well, here are learned men having to learn," said the 
captain. "Come, sit down, and I will tell you a curious 
episode in this history. Sir, listen well," said he; "this 
history will interest you on one side, for it will answer a 
question which doubtless you have not been able to solve." 

" I listen. Captain," said I, not knowing what my inter- 
locutor was driving at, and asking myself if this incident 
was bearing on our projected flight. 

" Sir, if you have no objection, we will go back to 1702. 
You cannot be ignorant that your king, Louis XIV., 
thinking that the gesture of a potentate was sufficient to 
bring the Pyrenees under his yoke, had imposed the Duke 
of Anjou, his grandson, on the Spaniards. This prince 
reigned more or less badly under the name of Philip V., 
and had a strong party against him abroad. Indeed, the 
preceding year, the royal houses of Holland, Austria and 
England had concluded a treaty of alliance at the Hague; 
with the intention of plucking the crown of Spain from 
the head of Philip V., and placing it on that of an arch- 
duke to whom they prematurely gave the title of Charles 

*' Spain must resist this coalition; but she was almost 
entirely unprovided with either soldiers or sailors. How- 
ever money would not fail them, provided that their gal- 
leons, laden with gold and silver from America, once 
entered their ports. And about the end of 1702, they 
expected a rich convoy which France was escorting with 
a fleet of twenty-three vessels, commanded by Admiral 
Chateau-Renaud, for the ships of the coalition were already 


beating the Atlantic. This convoy was to go to Cadiz, 
but the Admiral, hearing that an English fleet was cruis- 
ing in those waters, resolved to make for a French port. 

'^ The Spanish commanders of the convoy objected to 
this decision. They wanted to be taken to a Spanish 
port, and if not to Cadiz, into Vigo Bay, situated on the 
northwest coast of Spain, and which was not blocked. 

''Admiral Chateau- Eenaud had the rashness to obey 
this injunction, and the galleons entered Vigo Bay. 

** Unfortunately, it formed an open road which could 
not be defended in any way. They must therefore 
hasten to unload the galleons before the arrival of the 
combined fleet; and time would not have failed them had 
not a miserable question of rivalry suddenly arisen. 

** You are following the chain of events?" asked Cap- 
tain Nemo. 

" Perfectly," said I, not knowing the end proposed by 
this historical lesson. 

*' I will continue. This is what passed. The mer- 
chants of Cadiz had a privilege by which they had the right 
of receiving all merchandise coming from the West Indies. 
Now, to disembark these ingots at the Port of Vigo was 
depriving them of their rights. They complained at Ma- 
drid, and -obtained the consent of the weak-minded Philip 
that the convoy, without discharging its cargo, should re- 
main sequestered in the roads of Vigo until the enemy 
had disappeared. 

" But, whilst coming to this decision, on the 22d of 
October, 1702, the English vessels arrived in Vigo Bay, 
when Admiral Chateau-Renaud, in spite of inferior forces, 
fought bravely. But seeing that the treasure must fall 
into the enemy's hands, he burned and scuttled every 
galleon, which went to the bottom with their immense 

Captain Nemo stopped. I admit I could not yet see 
why this history should interest me. 

"Well?" I asked. 

" Well, M. Aronnax," replied Captain Nemo, " we are 
in that Vigo Bay; and it rests with yourself whether you 
will penetrate its mysteries." 

The captain rose, telling me to follow him. I had had 
time to recover. I obeyed. The saloon was dark, but 


through the transparent glass the waves were sparkling. 
I looked. 

For half a mile around the Nautilns the waters seemed 
bathed in electric light. The sandy bottom was clean 
and bright. Some of the ship's crew in their diving- 
dresses were clearing away half-rotten barrels and empty 
cases from the midst of the blackened wrecks. From 
these cases and from these barrels escaped ingots of gold 
and silver, cascades of piasters and jewels. The sand was 
heaped np with them. Laden with their precious booty 
the men returned to the Nautilus, disposed of their 
burden, and went back to this inexhaustible fishery of gold 
and silver. 

I understood now. This was the scene of the battle of 
the 22d of October, 1702. Here on this very spot the 
galleons laden for the Spanish government had sunk. 
Here Captain Nemo came, according to his wants, to pack 
up those millions with which he burdened the Nautilus. 
It was for him and him alone America had given up her 
precious metals. He was heir direct, without any one to 
share in those treasures torn from the Incas and from the 
conquered of Ferdinand Oortez. 

*' Did you know, sir," he asked, smiling, '* that the sea 
contained such riches?" 

*' I knew," I answered, " that they value the money held 
in suspension in those waters at two millions." 

"Doubtless: but to extract this money the expense 
would be greater than the profit. Here, on the contrary, 
I have but to pick up what man has lost; and not only in 
Vigo Bay, but in a thousand other spots where shipwrecks 
have happened, and which are marked on my submarine 
map. Can you understand now the source of the millions 
I am worth?" 

"I understand. Captain. But allow me to tell you that 
in exploring Vigo Bay you have only been beforehand with 
a rival society." 

"And which?" 

" A society which has received from the Spanish gov- 
ernment the privilege of seeking those biiried galleons. 
The shareholders are led on by the allurement of an 
enormous bounty, for they value these rich shipwrecks at 
five hundred millions." 


"Five hundred millions they were," answered Captain 
Nemo, "but they are no longer." 

"Just so," said I; "and a warning to those sharehold- 
ers would be an act of charity. But who knows if it 
would be well received? What gamblers usually regret 
above all is less the loss of their money, than of their fool- 
ish hopes. After all, I pity them less than the thousands 
of unfortunates to whom so much riches well distributed 
would have been profitable, whilst for them they will be 
forever barren." 

I had no sooner expressed this regret, than I felt that it 
must have wounded Captain Nemo. 

"Barren!" he exclaimed, with animation. "Do you 
think then, sir, that these riches are lost because I gather 
them? Is it for myself alone, according to your idea, that 
I take the trouble to collect these treasures? Who told 
you that I did not make a good use of it? Do you think 
I am ignorant that there are suffering beings and oppressed 
races on this earth, miserable creatures to console, victims 
to avenge? Do you not understand?" 

Captain Nemo stopped at these last words, regretting 
perhaps that he had spoken so much. But I had guessed 
that whatever the motive which had forced him to seek 
independence under the sea, it had left him still a man, 
that his heart still beat for the sufferings of humanity, 
and that his immense charity was for oppressed races as 
well as individuals. And I then understood for whom 
those millions were destined, which were forwarded by 
Captain Nemo when the Nautilus was cruising in the 
waters of Crete. 



The next morning, the 19th of February, I saw the 
Canadian enter my room. I expected this visit. He 
looked very disappointed. 

" Well, sir?" said he. 

" Well, Ned, fortune was against us yesterday." 

" Yes; that captain must needs stop exactly at the hoar 
we intended leaving his vessel." 

" Yes, Ned, he had business at his banker's.** 


"His banker's?" 

"His banker's! Or rather his banking-house; by that 
I mean the ocean, where his riches are safer than in the 
chests of the state." 

I tlien related to the Canadian the incidents of the 
preceding night, hoping to bring him back to the idea 
of not abandoning the captain; but my recital had no 
other result than an energetically expressed regret from 
Ned, that he had not been able to take a walk on the 
battle-field of Vigo on his own account. 

"However," said he, "all is not ended. It is only a 
blow of the harpoon lost. Another time we must succeed; 
and to-night, if necessary " 

" In what direction is the Nautilus going?" I asked. 

" I do not know," replied Ned. 

"Well, at noon we shall see the point." 

The Canadian returned to Conseil. As soon as I was 
dressed, I went into the saloon. The compass was not 
reassuring. The course of the Nautilus was S.S.W. We 
were turning our backs on Europe. 

I waited with some impatience till the ship's place was 
pricked on the chart. At about half-past eleven the 
reservoirs were emptied, and our vessel rose to the surface 
of the ocean. I rushed toward the platform. Ned Land 
had preceded me. No more land in sight. Nothing but 
an immense sea. Some sails on the horizon, doubtless 
those going to San Roque in search of favorable winds for 
doubling the Cape of Good Hope. The weather was 
cloudy. A gale of wind was preparing. Ned raved and 
tried to pierce the cloudy horizon. He still hoped that 
behind all that fog stretched the land he so longed for. 

At noon the sun showed itself for an instant. The 
second mate profited by this brightness to take its height. 
Then the sea becoming more billowy, we descended, and 
the panel closed. 

An hour after, upon consulting the chart, I saw the 
position of the Nautilus was marked at 16° 17' longitude, 
and 33° 23' latitude, at 150 leagues from the nearest coast. 
There was no means of flight, and I leave you to imagine 
the rage of the Canadian when I informed him of our 

For myself, I was not particularly sorry. I felt light- 
ened of the load which had oppressel^me and was able to 


return with some degree of calmness to my accustomed 

That night, about eleven o'clock, I received a most un- 
expected visit from Captain Nemo. He asked me very 
graciously if I f&lt fatigued from my watch of the preced- 
ing night. I answered in the negative. 

'* Then M. Aronnax, I propose a curious excursion." 

*' Propose, Captain?" 

** You have hitherto only visited the submarine depths 
by daylight, under the brightness of the sun. Would it 
suit you to see them in the darkness of the night?" 

*' Most willingly." 

" I warn you, ih-e way will be tiring. We shall have 
far to walk, and must climb a mountain. The roads are 
not well kept." 

" What you say, Captain, only heightens my curiosity; 
I am ready to follow you." 

" Come then, sir, we will put on our diving-dresses." 

Arrived at the robing-room, I saw that neither of my 
companions nor any of the ship's crew were to follow on 
this excursion. Captain Nemo had not even proposed my 
taking with me either Ned or Conseil. 

In a few moments we had put on our diving-dresses; 
they placed on our backs the reservoirs, abundantly filled 
with air, but no electric lamps were prepared. I called 
the captain's attention to the fact. • 

*' They will be useless," he replied. 

I thought I had not heard aright, but I could not re- 
peat my observation, for the captain's head had already 
disappeared in its metal case. I finished harnessing my- 
self, I felt them put an iron-pointed stick into my hand, 
and some minutes later, after going through the usual 
form, we set foot on the bottom of the Atlantic, at a depth 
of 150 fathoms. Midnight was near. The waters were 
profoundly dark, but Captain Nemo pointed out in the 
distance a reddish spot, a sort of a large light shining 
brilliantly, about two miles from the Nautilus. What this 
fire might be, what could feed it, why and how it lit up 
the liquid mass, I could not say. In any case, it did light 
our way, vaguely, it is true, but I soon accustomed myself 
to the peculiar darkness, and I understood, under such 
circumstances, the uselessness of the Ruhmkorlf apparatus. 

As we advanced, I heard a kind of pattering above my 


head. The noise redoubling, sometimes producing a con- 
tinual shower, I soon understood the cause. It was rain 
falling violently, and crisping the surface of the waves. 
Instinctively the thought flashed across my mind that I 
should be wet through! By the water! in the midst of the 
water! I could not help laughing at the odd idea. But 
indeed, in thick diving dress, the liquid element is no 
longer felt, and one only seems to be in an atmosphere 
somewhat denser than the terrestrial atmosphere. Noth- 
ing more. " ^ 

After half an hour's walk the soil became stony. Me- 
dusae, microscopic Crustacea, and pennatules lit it slightly 
with their phosphorescent gleam. I caught a glimpse of 
pieces of stone covered with millions of zoophytes and 
masses of sea-weed. My feet often slipped upon this vis- 
cous carpet of sea-weed, and without my iron-tipped stick 
I should have fallen more than once. In turning round, 1 
could still see the whitish lantern of the Nautilus begin- 
ning to pale in the distance. 

But the rosy light which guided us increased and lit up 
the horizon. The presence of this fire under water puz- 
zled me in the highest degree. Was it some electric efful- 
gence? Was I going toward a natural phenomenon as yet 
unknown to the savants of the earth? Or even (for this 
thought crossed my brain) had the hand of man aught to 
do with this conflagration ? Had he fanned this flame? 
Was I to meet in these depths companions and friends of 
Captain Nemo whom he was going to visit, and who, like 
him, led this strange existence? Should I find down there 
a whole colony of exiles, who, weary of the miseries of 
this earth, had sought and found independence in the 
deep ocean? All these foolish and unreasonable ideas 
pursued me. And in this condition of mind, overexcited 
by the succession of wonders continually passing before 
my eyes, I should not have been surprised to meet at the 
bottom of the sea one of those submarine towns of which 
Captain Nemo dreamed. 

Our road grew lighter and lighter. The white glimmer 
came in rays from the summit of a mountain about 800 
feet high. But what I saw was simply a reflection, de- 
veloped by the clearness of the waters. The source of this 
inexplicable light was a fire on the opposite side of the 


In the midst of this stony maze, furrowing the bottom 
of the Atlantic, Captain Nemo advanced without hesita- 
tion. He knew this dreary road. Doubtless he had often 
traveled over it, and could not lose himself. I followed 
him with unshaken confidence. He seemed to me like a 
genie of the sea; and, as he walked before me, I could not 
help admiring his stature, which was outlined in black on 
the luminous horizon. 

It was one in the morning when we arrived at the first 
slopes of the mountain; but to gain access to them we 
must venture through the difficult paths of a vast copse. 

Yes; a copse of dead trees, without leaves, without sap; 
trees petrified by the action of the water, arid here and 
there overtopped by gigantic pines. It was like a coal pit, 
still standing, holding by the roots to the broken soil, and 
whose branches, like fine black paper cuttings, showed 
distinctly on the watery ceiling. Picture to yourself a forest 
in the Hartz, hanging on to the sides of the mountain, 
but a forest swallowed up. The paths were encumbered 
with sea-weed and fucus, between which groveled a whole 
world of Crustacea. I went along, climbing the rocks, 
striding over extended trunks breaking the sea bind-weed, 
which hung from one tree to the other; and frightening 
the fishes, which flew from branch to branch. Pressing 
onward, I felt no fatigue. I followed my guide, who was 
never tired. What a spectacle! how can I express it? how 
paint the aspect of those woods and rocks in this medium 
— their under parts dark and wild, the upper colored with 
red tints, by that light which the reflecting powers of the 
waters doubled? We climbed rocks, which fell directly 
after with gigantic bounds, and the low growling of an 
avalanche. To right and left ran long dark galleries, where 
sight was lost. Here opened vast glades which the hand 
of man seemed to have worked^ and I sometimes asked 
myself if some inhabitant of these submarine regions would 
not suddenly appear to me. 

But Captain Nemo was still mounting. I could not stay 
behind. I followed boldly. My stick gave me good help. 
A false step would have been dangerous on the narrow 
passes sloping down to the sides of the gulf; but I walked 
with firm step, without feeling any giddiness. Now I 
jumped a crevice the depth of which would have made me 
hesitate had it been among the glaciers on the land; now 


I ventured on the unsteady trunk of a tree, thrown across 
Irom one abyss to the other, without looking under my 
feet, having only eyes to admire the wild sites of this 

There, monumental rocks, leaning on their regularly 
cut bases, seemed to defy all laws of equilibrium. From 
between their stony knees, trees sprang, like a jet under 
heavy pressure, and upheld others which upheld them. 
Katural towers, large scraps, cut perpendicularly, like 
a " curtain," inclined at an angle which the laws of 
gravitation could never have tolerated in terrestrial regions. 

Two hours after quitting the Nautilus, we had crossed 
the line of trees, and a hundred feet above our heads 
rose the top of the mountain, which cast a shadow on 
the brilliant irradiation of the opposite slope. Some 
petrified shrubs ran fantastically here and there. Fishes 
got up under our feet like birds in the long grass. The 
massive rocks were rent with impenetrable fractures, deep 
grottos, and unfathomable holes, at the bottom of which 
formidable creatures might be heard moving. My blood 
curdled when I saw enormous antennae blocking my road, 
or some frightful claw closing with a noise in the shadow 
of some cavity. Millions of luminous spots shone brightly 
in the midst of the darkness. They were the eyes of giant 
Crustacea crouched in their holes; giant lobsters setting 
themselves up like halberdiers, and moving their claws 
with the clicking sound of pincers; titanic crabs, pointed 
like a gun on its carriage; and frightful-looking poulps, 
interweaving their tentacles like a living nest of serpents. 

We had now arrived on the first platform, where other 
surprises awaited me. Before us lay some picturesque 
ruins, which betrayed the hand of man and not that of 
the Creator. There were vast heaps of stone, amongst 
which might be traced the vague and shadowy forms of 
castles and temples clothed with a world of blossoming 
zoophytes, and over which, instead of ivy, sea- weed and 
fucus threw a thick vegetable mantle. But what was this 
portion of the globe which had been swallowed by cata- 
clysms? Who had placed those rocks and stones like 
cromlechs of pre-historic times? Where was I? Whither 
had Captain Nemo's fancy hurried me? 

I would fain have asked him; not being able to, I 
stopped him — I seized his arm. But shaking his head. 


and pointing to the highest point of the mountain, he 
seemed to say: 

**Come, come along; come higher!" 

I followed, and in a few minutes I had climhed to the 
top, which for a circle of ten yards commanded the whole 
mass of rock. 

I looked down the side we had just climbed. The 
mountain did not rise more than seven or eight hundred 
feet above the level of the plain; but on the opposite side 
it commanded from twice that height the depths of this 
part of the Atlantic. My eyes ranged far over a large 
space lit by a violent fulguration. In fact, the mountain 
was a volcano. 

At fifty feet above the peak, in the midst of a rain of 
stones and scoriae, a large crater was vomiting forth tor- 
rents of lava, which fell in a cascade of fire into the 
bosom of the liquid mass. Thus situated, this volcano lit 
the lower plain like an immense torch, even to the extreme 
limits of the horizon. I said that the submarine crater 
threw up lava, but no flames. Flames require the oxygen 
of the air to feed upon, and cannot be developed under 
water; but streams of lava, having iu themselves the prin- 
ciples of their incandescence, can attain a white heat, 
fight vigorously against the liquid element, and turn it to 
vapor by contact. 

Rapid currents bearing all these gases in diffusion, and 
torrents of lava, slid to the bottom of the mountain like 
an eruption of Vesuvius on another Terra del Greco. 

There, indeed, under my eyes, ruined, destroyed, lay a 
town — its roofs open to the sky, its temples fallen, its 
arches dislocated, its columns lying on the ground, from 
which one could still recognize the massive character of 
Tuscan architecture. Further on, some remains of a giant 
aqueduct; here the high base of an Acropolis, with the 
floating outline of a Parthenon; there traces of a quay, as 
if an ancient port had formerly abutted on the borders of 
the ocean, and disappeared with its merchant vessels and 
its war galleys. Further on again, long lines of sunken 
walls and broad deserted streets — a perfect Pompeii es- 
caped beneath the waters. Such was. the sight that Cap- 
tain Nemo brought before my eyes. 

Where was I? Where was I? I must know at any cost. 
I tried to speak, but Captain Nemo stopped me by a 

I 30,000 LEAGUES UNDER Tlil^ SEAS. 2[)l 

gesture, and picking up a piece of chalk stone, advanced 
to a rock of black basalt, and traced the one word, 


What a light shot through my mind: Atlantis, the 
ancient Meropis of Theopompus, the Atlantis of Plato, 
that continent denied by Origen, Jamblichus, D'Anville, 
Malte-Brun, and Humboldt, who placed its disappearance 
among the legendary tales admitted by Posidonius, Pliny, 
Ammianus Marcellinus, Tertullian, Engel, Buffon, and 
D'Avezac. I had it there now before my eyes, bearing 
upon it the unexceptionable testimony of its catastrophe. 
The region thus ingulfed was beyond Europe, Asia, and 
Lybia, beyond the columns of Hercules, where those 
powerful people, the Atlantides, lived, against whom the 
first wars of ancient Greece were waged. 

Thus, led by the strangest destiny, I was treading under 
foot the mountains of this continent, touching with my 
hands those ruins a thousand generations old, and con- 
temporary with the geological epochs. I was walking on 
the very spot where the contemporaries of the first man 
had walked. 

Whilst I was trying to fix in my mind every detail of 
this grand landscape. Captain Nemo remained motionless, 
as if petrified in mute ecstasy, leaning on a mossy stone. 
Was he dreaming of those generations long since disap- 
peared? Was he asking them the secret of human destiny? 
Was it here this strange man came to steep himself in 
historical recollections, and live again this ancient life — 
he who wanted no modern one? What would I not have 
given to know his thoughts, to share them, to understand 
them)' We remained for an hour at this place, contem- 
plating 'the vast plain under the brightness of the lava, 
which was sometimes wonderfully intense. Rapid trem- 
blings ran along the mountain caused by internal bubblings, 
deep noises distinctly transmitted through the liquid me- 
dium were echoed with majestic grandeur. At this moment 
the moon appeared through the mass of waters, and threw 
her pale rays on the buried continent. It was but a gleam, 
but what an indescribable effect! The captain rose, cast 
one last look on the immense plain, and then bade me fol- 
low him. 

We descended the mountain rapidly, and the mineral 

202 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEAS. "^ 

forests once passed, I saw the lantern of the Nautilus 
shining like a star. The captain walked straight to it, 
and we got on board as the first rays of the light whitened 
the surface of the ocean. 



The next day, the 20th of February, I awoke very late; 
the fatigues of the previous night had prolonged my 
sleep until eleven o'clock. I dressed quickly, and 
hastened to find the course the Nautilus was taking. The 
instruments showed it to be still toward the south, with 
ii speed of twenty miles an hour, and a depth of fifty 

The species of fish here did not differ much from those 
already noticed. There were rays of giant size, five yards 
long, and endowed with great muscujar strength, which 
enabled them to shoot above the waves; sharks of many 
kinds, amongst others a glaucus fifteen feet long, with 
triangular sharp teeth, and whose transparency rendered 
it almost invisible in the water; brown sagrae; humantins, 
prism-shaped and clad with a tuberculous hide, stur- 
geons, resembling their congeners of the Mediterranean; 
trumpet syngnathes, a foot and a half long, furnished 
with grayish bladders, without teeth or tongue, and as 
supple as snakes. 

Amongst bony fish, Conseil noticed some blackish ma- 
kairas, about three yards long, armed at the upper jaw 
with a piercing sword; other bright-colored creatures, 
known at the time of Aristotle by the name of the sea- 
dragon, which are dangerous to capture on account of the 
spikes on their back; also some coryphenes, with brown 
backs marked with little blue stripes, and surrounded 
with a gold border; some beautiful dorades; and sword- 
fish four-and-twenty feet long, swimming in troops, fierce 
animals, but rather herbivorous than carnivorous. 

About four o'clock the soil, generally composed of a 
thick mud mixed with petrified wood, changed by degrees, 
and it became more stony, and seemed strewn with con- 
glomerate and pieces of basalt, with a sprinkling of lava 


and sulphurous obsidian. I thought a mountainous region 
was succeeding the long plains; and accordingly, after a 
few evolutions of the Nautilus, I saw the southei'ly horizon 
blocked by a high wall which seemed to close all exit. 
Its summit evidently passed the level of the ocean. It 
must be a continent, or at least an island — one of the 
Canaries or of the Cape Verd Islands. The bearings not 
being yet taken, perhaps designedly, I was ignorant of our 
exact position. In any case, such a wall seemed to me to 
mark the limits of that Atlantis of which we had in reality 
passf J over only the smallest part. 

Much longer should I have remained at the window ad- 
miring the beauties of sea and sky, but the panels closed. 
At this moment the Nautilus arrived at the side of this 
high perpendicular wall. What it would do I could not 
guess. I returned to my room; it no longer moved. I laid 
myself down with the full intention of waking after a few 
hours' sleep; but it was eight o'clock the next day when I 
entered the saloon. I looked at the manometer. It told 
me that the Nautilus was floating on the surface of the 
ocean. Besides, I heard steps on the platform. I went 
to the panel. It was open; but instead of broad daylight, 
as I expected, I was surrounded by profound darkness. 
Where were we? Was I mistaken? Was it still night? 
No, not a star was shining, and night has not that utter 

I knew not what to think, when a voice near me said: 

*' Is that you. Professor?" 

*' Ah! Captain," I answered: " where are we?" 

"Under grouhd, sir." 

"Under ground!" I exclaimsd. ''And the Nautilus 
floating still?" 

" It always floats." 

" But I do not understand." 

" Wait a few minutes, our lantern will be lit, and if you 
like light places, y©u will be satisfied." 

I stood on the platform and waited. The darkness was 
so complete that I could not even see Captain Nemo; but 
looking to the zenith, exactly above my head, I seemed to 
catch an undecided gleam, a kind of twilight filling a cir- 
cular hole. At this instant the lantern was lit, and its 
vividness dispelled the faint light. I closed my dazzled 
eyes for an instant, and then looked again. The Nautilus 


was stationary, floating near a mountain which formed a sort 
of quay. The lake then supporting it was a lake im- 
prisoned by a circle of walls, measuring two miles in diam- 
eter and six in circumference. Its level (the nianoroeter 
showed) could only be the same as the outaide level, for 
there must necessarily be a communication between the 
lake and the sea. The high partitions, leaning forward on 
their base, grew into a vaulted roof bearing the shape of 
an immense funnel turned upside down, the height being 
about five or six hundred yards. At the summit was a cir- 
cular orifice, by which 1 had caught the slight gleam of 
light, evidently daylight. 

*' Where are we?" I asked. 

" In the very heart of an extinct volcano, the interior 
of which has been invaded by the sea after some great 
convulsion of the earth. Whilst you were sleeping. Pro- 
fessor, the Nautilus penetrated to this lagoon by a natural 
canal, which opens about ten yards beneath the surface of 
the ocean. This is its harbor of refuge, a sure, com- 
modious, and mysterious one, sheltered from all gales. 
Show me, if you can, on the coasts of any of your conti- 
nents or islands, a road which can give such perfect refuge 
from all storms.'* 

"Certainly,*' I replied, ''you are in safety here. Captain 
Nemo. Who could reach you in the heart of a volcano? 
But did I not see an opening at its summit?" 

" Yes; its crater, formerly filled with lava, vapor, and 
flames, and which now gives entrance to the lifegiving air 
we breathe." 

" But what is this volcanic mountain?" 

" It belongs to one of the numerous islands with which 
this sea is strewn — to vessels a simple sand-bank — to us an 
immense cavern. Chance led me to discover it, and chance 
served me well." 

"But of what use is this refuge, Captain? The Nau- 
tilus wants no port." 

" No, sir; but it wants electricity to make it move, and 
the wherewithal to make the electricity — sodium to feed 
the elements, coal from which to get the sodium, and a 
coal-mine to supply the coal. And exactly on this spot 
the sea covers entire forests embedded during the geolog- 
ical periods, now mineralized, and transformed into coal; 
for me they are an inexhausti ble mine," 


**your men follow the trade of miners here, then. 


"Exactly so. These mines extend under the wave^like 
the mip«s of Newcastle. Here, in their diving-dresses, 
pickax aud shovel in hand, my men extract the coal, 
which 1 do not even ask from the mines of the earfch. 
When I burn this combustible for the manufacture of 
sodium, the smoke, escaping from thecrator of the mount- 
ain, gives it the appearance of a still active volcano." 

" And we shall see your companions at work?" 

"No; not this time at least; for lam in a hurry to con- 
tinue our submarine tour of the earth. Sol shall content 
myself with drawing from the reserve of sodium I already 
possess. The time for loading is one day only, and we 
continue our voyage. So if you wish to go over the 
cavern, and make the round of the lagoon, you must take 
advantage of to-day, M. Aronnax." 

I thanked the captain, and went to look for my com- 
panions, who had not yet left their cabin. J invited them 
to follow me without saying where we were. They 
mounted the platform. Conseil, who was astonished at 
nothing, seemed to look upon it as quite natural that he 
should wake under a mountain, after having fallen asleep 
under the waves. But Ned Land thought of nothing but 
finding whether the cavern had any exit. After breakfast, 
about ten o'clock, we went down on to the mountain. 

" Here we are, once more on land," said Conseil. 

"I do not call this land," said the Canadian. "And 
besides, we are not on it, but beneath it." 

Between the walls of the mountain and the waters of the 
lake lay a sandy shore, which, at its greatest |breadth, 
measured five hundred feet. On this soil one might easily 
make the tour of the lake. But the base of the high parti- 
tions was stony ground, with volcanic blocks and enormous 
pumice-stones lying in picturesque heaps. All these de- 
tached masses, covered with enamel, polished by the action 
of the subterraneous fires, shone resplendent by the light 
of our electric lantern. The mica-dust from the shore, 
rising under our feet, flew like a cloud of sparks. Th» 
bottom now rose sensibly, and we soon arrived at long cir- 
cuitous slopes, or inclined planes, which took us higher 
by degrees; but we were obliged to walk carefully amon|^ 
these conglomerates, bound by no current; the tee^ dip- 


ping on the glassy trachyte, composed of crystal, feldspar 
and quartz. 

The volcanic nature of this enormous excavation was 
confirmed on all sides, and I pointed it out to my compan- 

** Picture to yourselves," said I, " what this crater must 
have been when filled with boiling lava, and when the 
level of the incandescent liquid rose to the orifice of the 
mountain, as though melted on the top of a hot plate." 

*' I can picture it perfectly," said Conseil. *' But, sir, 
will you tell me why the Great Architect has suspended 
operations, and how it is that the furnace is replaced by 
the quiet waters of the lake?" 

" Most probably, Conseil, because some convulsion be- 
neath the ocean produced that very opening which has 
served as a passage for the Nautilus. Then the water 
of the Atlantic rushed into the interior of the mountain. 
There must have been a terrible struggle between two ele- 
ments, a struggle which ended in the victory of Neptune. 
But many ages have run out since then, and the sub- 
merged volcano is now a peaceable grotto." 

" Very well," replied Ned Land; "I accept the expla- 
nation, sir; but, in our own interests, I regret that th<} 
opening of which you speak was not made above the level 
of the sea." 

"But, friend Ned," said Conseil, *'if the passage had 
not been under the sea, the Nautilus could not have gone 
through it." 

We continued ascending. The steps became more and 
more perpendicular and narrow. Deep excavations, which 
we were obliged to cross, cut them here and there; slop- 
ing masses had to be turned. We slid upon our knees 
and crawled along. But Conseil's dexterity and the 
Canadian's strength surmounted all obstacles. At a 
height of about thirty-one feet, the nature of the ground 
ciianged without becoming more practicable. To the 
conglomerate and trachyte succeeded black basjilt, the first 
dispread in layers full of bubbles, the latter forming regu- 
lar prisms, placed like a colonnade supporting the spring 
of the immense vault, an admirable specimen of natural 
architecture. Between the blocks of basalt wound long 
streams of lava, long since grown cold, incrusted with 
bituminous rays; and in some places there were spread 


large carpets of sulphur. A more powerful light shone 
through the upper crater, shedding a vague glimmer over 
these volcanic depressions forever buried in the bosom of 
tliis extinguished mountain. But our upward march was 
soon stopped at a height of about two hundred and fifty 
feet by impassable obstacles. There was a complete 
Tanked arch overhanging us, and our ascent was changed 
to a circular walk. At the last change vegetable life be- 
gan to struggle with the niinerah Some shrubs, and even 
some trees, grew from the walls. I recognized some 
euphorbias, with the caustic sugar coming from them; 
heliotropes, quite incapable of justifying their name, sadly 
drooped their clusters of flowers, both their color and per- 
fume half gone. Here and there some chrysanthemums 
grew timidly at the foot of an aloe with long sickly-look- 
ing leaves. But between the streams of lava, I saw some 
little violets still slightly perfumed, and I admit that I 
smelt them with delight. Perfume is the soul of the 
flower, and sea-flowers, those splendid hydrophytes, have 
no soul. 

We had arrived at the foot of some sturdy dragon-trees, 
which had pushed aside the rocks with their strong roots, 
when Ned Land exclaimed: 

"Ah! sir, a hive! a hive!" 

"A hive!" I replied with a gesture of incredulity. 

" Yes, a hive," repeated the Canadian, " and bees hum- 
ming round it." 

I approached, and was bound to believe my own eyes. 
There, at a hole bored in one of the dragon-trees, were 
gome thousands of these ingenious insects, so common in 
all the Canaries, and whose produce is so much esteemed. 
Naturally enough, the Canadian wished to gather the 
honey, and I could not well oppose his wish. A quantity 
of dry leaves, mixed with sulphur, he lit with a spark 
from his flint, and he began to smoke out the bees. The 
humming ceased by degrees, and the hive eventually 
yielded several pounds of the sweetest honey, with which 
Ned Land filled his haversack. 

"When I have mixed this honey with the paste of the 
artocarpus," said he, "I shall be able to offer you a sac- 
culent cake." 

"Upon my word," said Conseil, "it will be ginger- 


" Never mind the gingerbread," said I; " let us continue 
our interesting walk." 

At every turn of the path we were following, the lake 
appeared in all its length and breadth. The lantern lit up 
the whole of its peaceable surface which knew neither 
ripple nor wave. The Nautilus remained perfectly im- 
movable. On the platform, and on the mountain, the 
ship's crew were working like black shadows, clearly 
carved against the luminous atmosphere. We were now 
going round the highest crest of the first layers oi rock 
which upheld the roof. I then saw that bees were not the 
only representatives of the animal kingdom in the interior 
of this volcano. Birds of prey hovered here and there in 
the shadows, or fled from their nests on the top of the 
rocks. There were sparrow-hawks with white breasts, and 
kestrels, and down the slopes scampered, with their long 
legs, several fine fat bustards. I leave any one to imagine 
the covetousness of the Canadian at the sight of this savory 
game, and whether he did not regret having r»o gun. But 
he did his best to replace the lead by stones, and after 
several fruitless attempts, he succeeded in wounding a 
magnificent bird. To say that he risked his life twenty 
times before reaching it, is but the truth; but he managed 
so well, that the creature joined the honey cakes in his 
bag. We were now obliged to descend toward the shore, 
the crest becoming impracticable. Above us the crater 
seemed to gape like the mouth of a well. From this place 
the sky could be clearly seen, and clouds, dissipated by the 
west wind, leaving behind them, even on the summit of 
the mountain, their misty remnants — certain proof that 
they were only moderately high, for the volcano did not 
rise more than eight hundred feet above the level of the 
ocean. Half an hour after the Canadian's last exploit we 
had regained the inner shore. Here the flora was rep- 
resented by large carpets of marine crystal, a little um- 
belliferous plant very good to pickle, which also bears the 
name of pierce-stone, and sea-fennel. Conseil gathered 
some bundles of it. As to the fauna, it might be counted 
by thousands of Crustacea of all sorts, lobsters, crabs, 
palsemons, spideH^crabs, chameleon shrimps, and a large 
number of shells, rockfish and limpets. Three-quarters 
of an hour kter we had finishea our circuitous wait, and 
were on board. The crew had just finished loading the 


sodium, and the Nautilus could have left that instant. 
But Captain Nemo gave no order. Did he wish to wait 
until night, and leave the submarine passage secretly? 
Perhaps so. Whatever it might be, the next day the 
Nautilus, having left its port, steered clear of all land at a 
few yards beneath the waves of the Atlantic. 



That day the Nautilus crossed a singular [part of the 
Atlantic Ocean. No one can be ignorant of the existence 
of a current of warm water, known by the name of the 
Gulf Stream. After leaving the Gulf of Mexico, about 
the twenty -fifth degree of north latitude, this current di- 
vides into two arms, the principle one going toward the 
coast of Ireland and Norway, whilst the second bends to 
the south about the height of the Azores; then, touching 
the African shore, and describing a lengthened oval, re- 
turns to the Antilles. This second arm — it is rather a 
collar than an arm — surrounds with its circle of warm 
water that portion of the cold, quiet, immovable ocean 
called the Sargasso Sea, a perfect lake in the open Atlan- 
tic; it takes no less than three years for the great current 
to pass around it. Such was the region the Nautikis was 
now visiting, a perfect meadow, a close carpet of sea- weed, 
fucus, and tropical berries, so thick and so compact that 
the stem of a vessel could hardly tear its way through it. 
And Captain Nemo, not wishing to entangle his screw in 
this herbaceous mass, kept some yards beneath the surface 
of the waves. The name Sargasso comes from the Spanish 
word " sargazzo," which signifies kelp. This kelp or 
varech, or berry-plant, is the principle formation of this 
immense bank. And this is the reason, according to the 
learned Maury, the author of "The Physical Geography 
of the Globe," why these hydrophites unite in the peace- 
ful basin of the Atlantic: The only explanation which 
can be given, he says, seems to me to result from the ex- 
perience known to all the world. Place in a vase some 
fragments of cork or other floating body, and give to tho 
water in the vase a circular movement, the scattered fra^ 


ments will unite in a group in the center of the liquid 
surface, that is to say, in the part less agitated. In the 
phenomenon we are considering, the Atlantic is the vase, 
the Gulf Stream the circular current, and the Sargasso 
Sea the central point at which the floating bodies unite. 

I share Maury's opinion, and I was able to study the 
phenomenon in the very midst, where vessels rarely pene- 
trate. Above us floated products of all kinds, heaped up 
among these brownish plants; trunks of trees torn from 
the Andes or the Eocky Mountains, a-nd floated by the 
Amazon or the Mississippi; numerous wrecks, remains of 
keels, or ships' bottoms, side planks stove in, and so 
weighted with shells and barnacles that they could not 
again rise to the surface. And time will one day justify 
Maury's other opmion, that these substances thus accum- 
ulated for ages will become petrified by the action of the 
water, and will then form inexhaustible coal mines — a 
precious reserve prepared by far-seeing nature for the 
moment when men shall have exhausted the mines of con- 

In the midst of this inextricable mass of plants and sea- 
weed, I noticed some charming pink halcyons and actiniae, 
with their long tentacles trailing after them; medjsae, 
green, red, and blue, and the great rhyostoms of Cuvier, 
the large umbrella of which was bordered and festooned 
with violet. 

All the day of the 22d of February we passed in the 
Sargasso Sea, where such fish as are partial to marine 
plants and fuci find abundant nourishment. The next, 
the ocean had returned to its accustomed aspect. From 
this time for nineteen days, from the 23d of February to 
the 12th of March, the Nautilus kept in the middle of 
the Atlantic, carrying us at a constant speed of a hundred 
leagues in twenty-four hours. Captain Nemo evidently 
intended accomplishing his submarine programme, and I 
imagined that he intended, after doubling Cape Horn, to 
return to the Australian seas of the Pacific. Ned Land 
had cause for fear. In these large seas, void of islands, 
we could not attempt to leave the boat. Nor had we any 
means of opposing Captajn Nemo's will. Our only course 
was to submit; but what we could neither gain by force 
nor cunning, I liked to think might be obtained by per- 
suasion. This voyage ended, would he not consent to 


restore our liberty, under an oath never to reveal his exist- 
ence? — an oath of honor which we should have religiously 
kept. But we must consider that delicate question with 
the captain. But was I free to claim this liberty. Had 
he not himself said from the beginning, in the firmest 
manner, that the secret of his life exacted from him our 
lasting imprisonment onboard the Nautilus? And would 
not my four months' silence appear to him a tacit accept- 
ance of our situation? And would not a return to the 
subject result in raising suspicions which might be hurtful 
to our projects if at some future time a favorable oppor- 
tunity offered to return to them? 

During the nineteen days mentioned above, no incident 
of any note happened to signalize our voyage. I saw little 
of the captain; he was at work. In the library I often 
found his books left open, especially those on Natural 
History. My work on submarine depths, conned over by 
him, was covered with marginal notes, often contradicting 
my theories and systems; but the captain contented him- 
self with thus purging my work; it was very rare for him 
to discuss it with me. Sometimes I heard the melancholy 
tone of his organ; but only at night, in the midst of the 
deepest obscurity, when the Nautilus slept upon the de- 
serted ocean. During this part of our voyage we sailed 
whole days on the surface of the waves. The sea seemed 
abandoned. A few sailing-vessels, on the road to India, 
were making for the Cape of Good Hope. One day we 
were followed by the boats of a whaler, who, no doubt, 
took us for some enormous whale of great price; but Cap- 
tain Nemo did not wish the worthy fellows to lose their 
time and trouble, so ended the chase by plunging under 
the water. Our navigation continued until the 13th o\ 
March; that day the Nautilus was employed in taking 
soundings, which greatly interested me. We had then 
made about 13,000 leagues since our departure from the 
high seas of the Pacific. The bearings gave us 45^ 37' 
south latitude, and 37® 53' west longitude. It was the 
same water in which Captain Denham of the Herald 
sounded 7,000 fathoms without finding the bottom. There, 
too, Lieutenant Parker, of the American frigate Congress, 
could not touch the bottom with 15,140 yards. Captain 
Nemo intended seeking the bottom of the ocean by a diagonal 
sufficiently lengthened by means of lateral planes placed 


at an angle of forfcy-five degrees with the water-line of the 
Nautilus. Then the screw set to work at its maximum 
speed, its four blades beating the waves with indescribable 
force. Under this powerful pressure the hull of the Nau- 
tilus quivered like a sonorous chord, and sank regularly 
under the water. 

At 7,000 fathoms I saw some blackish tops rising from 
the midst of the waters; but these summits might belong 
to high mountains like the Himalayas or Mount Blanc, 
even higher; and the depth of the abyss remained incal- 
culable. The Nautilus descended still lower, in spite of 
the great pressure. I felt the steel plates tremble at the 
fastenings of the bolts: its bars bent; its partitions groan- 
ed; the windows of the saloon seemed to curve under the 
pressure of the waters. And this firm structure would 
doubtless have yielded, if, as its captain had said, it had 
not been capable of resistance like a solid block. In skirt- 
ing the declivity of these rocks, lost under the water, I 
still saw some shells, some surpulse and spinorbes, still 
living, and some specimens of asteriads. But soon this 
last representative of animal life disappeared, and at the 
depth of more than three leagues, the Nautilus had passed 
the limits of submarine existence, even as a balloon does 
when it rises above the respirable atmosphere. We had 
attained a depth of 16,000 yards (four leagues), and the 
sides of the Nautilus then bore a pressure of 1,600 atmos- 
pheres, that is to say, 3,200 pounds to each square two- 
fifths of an inch of its surface. 

" What a situation to be in!" I exclaimed. *' To over- 
run these deep regions where man has never trod. Look, 
Captain, look at these magnificent rocks, these uninhab- 
ited grottoes, these lowest receptacles of the globe, where 
life is no longer possible! What unknown sights are here! 
Whv should we be unable to preserve a remembrance of 

" Would you like to carry away more than the remem- 
brance?" said Captain Nemo. 

*' What do you mean by those words?" 

" I mean to say that nothing is easier than to take a 
photographic view of this submarine region." 

I had no time to express my surprise at this new propo- 
sition, when at Captain Nemo's call, an objective was 
brought into the saloon. Through the widely opened 


panel, the liquid mass was bright with electricity, which 
was distributed with such uniformity, that not a shadow, 
not a gradation, was to be seen in our manufactured light. 
The Nautilus remained motionless, the force of its screw 
subdued by the inclination of its planes; the instrument 
was propped on the bottom of the oceanic site, and in a few 
seconds we had obtained a perfect negative, in which 
could be seen those primitive rocks, which have never 
looked upon the light of heaven; that lowest granite 
which forms the foundation of the globe; those deep 
grottoes, woven in the stony mass whose outlines were 
of such sharpness, and the border lines of which are 
marked in black, as if done by the brush of some 
Flemish artist. Beyond that again a horizon of 
mountains, an admirable undulating line, forming the 
perspective of the landscape. I cannot describe the effect 
of these smooth black, polished rocks, without moss, 
without a spot, and of strange forms, standing solidly on 
the sandy carpet, which sparkled under the jets of our 
electric light. 

But the operation being over. Captain Nemo said, 
" Let us go up; we must not abuse our position, nor ex- 
pose the Nautilus too long to such great pressure." 

" Go up again!" I exclaimed. 

"Hold well on." 

I had not time to understand why the Captain cautioned 
me thus, when I was thrown forward on to the carpet. 
At a signal from the Captain, its screw was shipped, and 
its blades raised vertically; the Nautilus shot into the air 
like a balloon, rising with stunning rapidity, and cutting 
the mass of waters with a sonorous agitation. Nothing 
was visible; and in four minutes it had shot through the 
four leagues which separated it from the ocean, and, after 
emerging like a flying-fish, fell, making the waves rebound 
to an enormous height. 



During the nights of the 13th and 14th of March, the 
Nautilus returned to its southerly course. I fancied that, 
when on a level with Cape Horn, he would turn the helm 


westward, in order to beat the Pacific seas, and so com- 
plete the tour of the world. He did nothing of the kind, 
.but continued on his way to the southern regions. Where 
was he going to? To the pole? It was madness! I began 
to think that the captain's temerity justified Ned Land's 
fears. For some time past the Canadian had not spoken 
to me of his projects of flight, he was less communicative, 
almost silent. I could see that this lengthened imprison- 
ment was weighing upon him, and I felt that rage was 
burning within him. When he met the captain, his eyes 
lit up with suppressed auger; and I feared that his nat- 
ural violence would lead him into some extreme. That 
day, the 14th of March, Consoil and he came to me in my 
room. I inquired the cause of their visit. 

*' A simple question to ask you, sir," replied the Cana- 

" Speak, Ned." 

** How many men are there on board the Nautilus, do 
you think?" 

'.' I cannot tell, my friend." 

" 1 should say that its working does not require a large 

" Certainly, under existing conditions, ten men, at the 
most, ought to be enough." 

" Well, why should there be any more?" 

"Why?" I replied, looking fixedly at Ned Land, whose 
meaning was easy to guess. " Because," I added, '* if my 
surmises are correct, and if I have well understood the 
captain's existence, the Nautilus is not only a vessel, it is 
also a place of refuge for those who, like its commander, 
have broken every tie upon earth." 

" Perhaps so," said Conseil; " but, in any case, the 
Nautilus can only contain a certain number of men. 
Could not you, sir, estimate their maximum?" 

"How, Conseil?" 

"By calculation; given the size of the vessel, which 
you know, sir^ and consequently the quantity of air it 
contains, knowing also how much each man expends at a 
breath, and comparing these results with the fact that the 
Nautilus is obliged to go to the surface every twenty-four 

Conseil had not finished the sentence before I saw what 
he was driving at. 


** I understand," said I, " but that calculation, though 
simple enough, can give but a very uncertain result." 

*' Never mind," said Ned Land, urgently. 

" Here it is, then,"said I. " In one hour each man con- 
sumes the oxygen contained in twenty gallons of air; and 
in twenty-four, that contained in 480 gallons. We must, 
therefore, find how many times 480 gallons of air the Nau- 
tilus contains." 

*' Just so," said Conseil. 

"Or," I continued, "the size of the Nautilus being 
1,500 tons, and one ton holding 200 gallons, it contains 
300,000 gallons of air, which, divided by 480 gives a quo- 
tient of 625. Which means to say, strictly speaking, that 
tlie air contained in the Nautilus would suffice for 625 
men for twenty-four hours." 

*'Six hundred and twenty-five!" repeated Ned. 

" But remember that all of us, passengers, sailors, and 
oflBcers included, would not form a tenth part of that 

''Still too many for three men," murmured Conseil. 

The Canadian shook his head, passed his hand across 
his forehead, and left the room without answering, 

'•' Will you allow me to make one observation, sir?" said 
Conseil. "■ Poor Ned is longing for everything that he 
cannot have. His past life is always present to him; every- 
thing that we are forbidden he regrets. His head is full 
of old recollections. And we must understand him. What 
has he to do here? Nothing; he is not learned like you, 
sir; and has not the same taste for the beauties of the sea 
that we have. He* would risk everything to be able to go 
once more into a tavern in his own country." 

Certainly the monotony on board must seem intolerable 
to the Canadian, accustomed as he was to a life of liberty 
and activity. Events were rare which could rouse him 
to any show of spirit; but that day an event did happen 
which recalled the bright days of the harpooner. About 
eleven in the morning, being on the surface of the ocean, 
the Nautilus fell in with a troop of whales — an encounter 
which did not astonish me, knowing that these creatures, 
hunted to the death, had taken refuge in high latitudes. 
We were seated on the platform with a quiet sea. The 
month of March in those latitudes gave us some lovely 
autumnal days. It was the Canadian — he could not be 


mistaken — who signaled a whale on the eastern horizon. 
Looking attentively, one might see its black back rise and 
fall with the waves five miles from the Nautilus. 

"Ah!" exclaimed Ned Land, "if I was on board a 
whaler now, such a meeting would give me pleasure. It 
is one of large size. See with what strength its blow-holes 
throw up columns of air and steam! Confound it, why 
am I bound to these steel plates?" 

"What, Ned," said I, "you have not forgotten your 
old ideas of fishing?" 

" Can a whale-fisher ever forget his old trade, sir? Can 
he ever tire of the emotions caused by such a chase?" 

" You have never fished in these seas, Ned?" 

"Never, sir; in the northern only, and as much in 
Behring as in Davis Straits." 

" Then the southern whale is still unknown to you. It 
is the Greenland whale you have hunted up to this time, 
and that would not risk passing through the warm waters 
of the equator. Whales are localized according to their 
kinds, in certain seas which they never le&ve. And if one 
of these creatures went from Behring to Davis Straits, it 
must be simply because there is a passage from one sea to 
the other, either on the American or the Asiatic sides." 

" In that case, as I have never fished in these seas, I do 
not know the kind of whale frequenting them." 

"I have told you, Ned." 

" A greater reason for making their acquaintance," said 
Con sell. 

"Look! look!" exclaimed the Canadian, "they ap- 
proach; they aggravate me; they know that I cannot get 
at them!" 

Ned stamped his feet. His hand trembled, as he 
grasped an imaginary harpoon. 

"Are these cetacea as large as those of the northern 
seas?" asked he. 

"Very nearly, Ned." 

" Because I have seen large whales, sir, whales meas- 
uring a hundred feet. I have even been told that those 
of Hullamoch and Umgallick, of the Aleutian Islands, are 
sometimes a hundred and fifty feet long." 

"* That seems to me exaggeration. These creatures are 
only balaenopterons, provided with dorsal fins; and, like 


the cachalots, are generally much smaller than the Green- 
land whale." 

" Ah!" exclaimed the Canadian, whose eyes had never 
left the ocean, "they are coming nearer; they are in the 
same water as the Nautilus!" 

Then returning to the conversation, he said: 

" You spoke of the cachalot as a small creature. 1 have 
heard of gigantic ones. They are intelligent cetacea. It 
is said of some that they cover themselves with sea-weed 
and fucus, and then are taken for islands. People encamp 
upon them, and settle there; light a fire " 

" And build houses," said Conseil. 

** Yes, joker," said Ned Land. " And one fine day the 
creature plunges, carrying with it all the inhabitants to 
the bottom of the sea." 

" Something like the travels of Sindbad the Sailor," I 
replied, laughing. 

'* Ah!" suddenly exclaimed Ned Land, '* it is not one 
whale; there are ten — there are twenty — it is a whole 
troop! And I not able to do anything! hands and feet 

"But, friend Ned," said Conseil, " why do you not ask 
Captain Nemo's permission to chase them?" 

Conseil had not finished his sentence when Ned Land 
had lowered himself through the panel to seek the Cap- 
tain. A few minutes afterward the two appeared together 
on the platform. 

Captain Nemo watched the troop of cetacea playing on 
the waters about a mile from the Nautilus. 

"They are southern whales," said he; "there goes the 
fortune of a whole fleet of whalers." 

"Well, sir," asked the Canadian, "can 1 not chase 
them if only to remind me of my old trade of harpooner?" 

" And to what purpose?" replied Captain Nemo; " only 
to destroy! We have nothing to do with whale-oil on 

"But, sir," continued the Canadian, "in the Red Sea 
you allowed us to follow the dugong." 

" Then it was to procure fresh meat for my crew. Here 
it would be killing for killing's sake. I know that is a 
privilege reserved for man, but 1 do not approve of such 
murderous pastime. In destroying the southern whale 
(like the Greenland whale, an inoffensive pxeature), your 


traders do a culpable action, Master Land. They have 
already depopulated the whole of BaflBn's Bay, and are 
annihilating a class of useful animals. Leave the unfort- 
unate cetacea alone. They have plenty of natural ene- 
mies — caclialots, sword-fish, and saw-fish — without your 
troubling them." 

The captain was right. The barbarous and incon- 
siderate greed of these fishermen will one day cause the 
disappearance of the last whale in the ocean. Ned Land 
whistled " Yankee Doodle " between his teeth, thrust his 
hands into his pockets, and turned his back upon us. But 
Captain Nemo vvatched the troop of cetacea, and address- 
ing me said: 

" I was right in saying that whales had natural enemies 
enough, without counting man. These will have plenty 
to do before long. Do you see, M. Aronnax, about eight 
miles to leeward, tliose blackish moving points?" 

*' Yes, Captain," I replied. 

" Those are cachalots — terrible animals, which I have 
sometimes met in troops of two or three hundred. As to 
tliose, they are cruel, mischievous creatures; they would 
be right in exterminating them." 

The Canadian turned quickly at the last words. 

" Well, Captain," said he, " it is still time, in the in- 
terest of the whales." 

"It is useless to expose one's self, Professor. The Nau- 
tilus will disperse them. It is armed with a steel spur as 
good as Master Land's harpoon, I imagine." 

The Canadian did not put himself out enough to shrug 
his shoulders. Attack cetacea with blows of a spur! Who 
had ever heard of such a thing? 

" Wait, M. Aronnax," said Captain Nemo. ''We will 
show you something you have never yet seen. We have 
no pity for these ferocious creatures. They are nothing 
but mouth and teeth." 

Mouth and teeth! No one could better describe the 
macrocephalous cachalot, which is sometimes more than 
seventy-five feet long. Its enormous head occupies one- 
third of its entire body. Better armed than the whale, 
whose upper jaw is furnished only with whalebone, it is 
supplied with twenty-five large tusks, about eight inches 
long, cylindrical and conical at the top, each weighing 
two pounds. It is the upper part of this enormous head. 


in great cavities divided by cartilages, that is to be found 
from six to eight hundred pounds of that precious oil 
called spermaceti. The cachalot is a disagreeable creat- 
ure, more tadpole than fish, according to Fredol's descrip- 
tion. It is badly formed, the whole of its left side being 
(if we may say it) a ''failure," and being only able to see 
with -its right eye. But the formidable troop was nearing 
us. They had seen the whales and were preparing to at- 
tack them. One could judge beforehand that the cacha- 
lots would be victorious, not only because they were better 
built for attack than their inoffensive adversaries, but 
also because they could remain longer under water 
without coming to the surface. There was only just time 
to go to the help of the whales. The Nautilus went under 
water. Conseil, Ned Land, and I took' our places before 
the window in the saloon, and Captain Nemo joined the 
pilot in his cage to work his apparatus as an engine of de- 
struction. Soon I felt the beatings of the screw quicken, 
and our speed increased. The battle between the cachalots 
and the whales had already begun when the Nautilus ar- 
rived. They did not at first show any fear at the sight of 
this new monster joining in the conflict. But they soon 
had to guard against its blows. What a battle! The Nau- 
tilus was nothing but a formidable harpoon, brandished 
by the hand of its captain. It hurled itself against the 
fleshy mass, passing through from one part to the other, 
leaving behind it two quivering halves of the animal. It 
could not feel the formidable blows from their tails upon 
its sides, nor the shock which it produced itself, much 
more. One cachalot killed, it ran at the next, tacked on 
the spot that it might not miss its prey, going forward 
and backward, answering to its helm, plunging when the 
cetacean dived into the deep waters, coming up with it 
when it returned to the surface, striking it front or side- 
ways, cutting or tearing in all directions, and at any pace, 
piercing it with its terrible spur. What carnage! What 
a noise on the surface of the waves! What sharp hissing, 
and what snorting peculiar to these enraged animals! In 
the midst of these waters generally so peaceful their tails 
made perfect billows. For one hour this wholesale mas- 
saci-e continued, from which the cachalots could not escape. 
Several times ten or twelve united tried to crush the Nau- 
tilus by their weight. From the window we could see 


their enormous mouths studded with tusks, and their 
formidable eyes. Ned Land could not contain himself, he 
threatened and swore at them. We could feel them cling- 
ing to our vessel like dogs worrying a wild boar in a copse. 
But the Nautilus, working its screw, carried them here 
and there, or to the upper levels of the ocean, without 
caring for their enormous weight, nor the powerful strain 
on the vessel. At length, the mass of cachalots broke up, 
the waves became quiet, and I felt that we were rising to 
tlie surface. The panel opened, and we hurried on to the 
platform. The sea was covered with mutilated bodies. A 
formidable explosion could not have divided and torn this 
fleshy mass with more violence. We were floating amid 
gigantic bodies, bluish on the back and white underneath, 
covered with enormous protuberances. Some terrified 
cachalots were flying toward the horizon. The waves were 
dyed red for several miles, and the Nautilus floated in a 
sea of blood. Captain Nemo joined us. 

** Well, Master Land?" said he. 

" Well, sir," replied the Canadian, whose enthusiasm 
had somewhat calmed; " it is a terrible spectacle certainly. 
But I am not a butcher. I am a hunter, and I call this a 

" It is a massacre of mischievous creatures," replied the 
captain; *'and the Nautilus is not a butcher's knife." 

" I like my harpoon better," said the Canadian. 

"Every one to his own," answered the captain, looking 
fixedly at Ned Land. 

I feared he would commit some act of violence, which 
would end in sad consequences. But his anger was turned 
by the sight of a whale which the Nautilus had just come 
up with. The creature had not quite escaped from the 
cachalot's teeth. I recognized the southern whale by its 
flat head, which is entirely black. Anatomically, it is 
distinguished from the white whale and the North Cape 
whale by the seven cervical vertebrae, and it has two more 
ribs than its congeners. The unfortunate cetacean was 
lying on its side, riddled with holes from the bites, and 
quite dead. From its mutilated fin still hung a young 
whale which it could not save from the massacre. Its 
open mouth let the water flow in and out, murmuring like 
the waves breaking on the shore. Captain Nemo steered 
close to the corpse of the creature. Two of hia mea 

-^ 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEAS. 221 

monnted its side, and I saw, not without surprise, that 
they were drawing from its breasts all the milk which they 
contained, that is to say, about two or three tons. The 
captain offered me a cup of the milk, which was still warm. ^ 
I could not help showing my repugnance to the drink;' 
but he assured me that it was excellent, and not to be dis- 
tinguished from cow's milk. I tasted it, and was of his 
opinion. It was a useful reserve to us, for in the shape of 
suit butter or cheese it would form an agreeable variety 
from our ordinary food. From that day I noticed with 
uneasiness that Ned Land's ill-will toward Captain Nemo 
increased, and I resolved to watch the Canadian's gestures 



The Nautilus was steadily pursuing its southerly course, 
following the fifteenth meridian with considerable speed. 
Did he wish to reach the pole? I did not think so, for 
every attempt to reach that point had hitherto failed. 
Again the season was far advanced; for in the antarctic re- 
gions the 13th of March corresponds with the 13th of 
September of northern regions, which begin at the equi- 
noctial season. On the 14th of March I saw floating ice in 
the latitude 55°, merely pale bits of debris from twenty to 
twenty-five feet long, forming banks over which the sea 
curled. The Nautilus remained on the surface of the 
ocean. Ned Land, who had fished in the arctic seas, was 
familiar with its icebergs; but Conseil and I admired them 
for the first time. In the atmosphere toward the southern 
horizon stretched a white dazzling band. English whaleKS 
have given it the name of " ice olink." However thick 
the clouds may be, it is always visible, and announces the 
presence of an ice pack or bank. Accordingly, larger 
blocks soon appejired, whose brilliancy changed with the 
caprices of the fog. Some of these masses showed green 
veins, as if long undulating lines had been traced with 
sulphate of copper; others resembled enormous amethysts 
with the light shining through them. Some reflected the 
light of day upon a thousand crystal facets. Others 
shaded with vivid calcareous reflections resembled a per- 


feet town of marble. The more we neared the south, the 
more these floating islands increased both in number and 

At the sixtieth degree of latitude, every pass had disap- 
peared. But seeking carefully. Captain Nemo soon found 
a narrow opening, through which he boldly slipped, know- 
ing, liowever, that it would close behind him. Thus, 
guided by this clever hand, the Naiitil-is passed through 
all the ice with a precision which quite charmed Oonseil; 
icebergs or mountains, ice-fields or smooth plains, seeming 
to have no limits, drift ice or floating ice-packs, or plains 
broken up, called palchs v^hen they are circular, and 
streams when tiiey are made up of long strips. The tem- 
perature was very low; the^thermometer exposed to the 
air marked two or three degrees below zero, but we were 
warmly clad with fur, at the expense of the sea-bear and 
seal. The interior of the Nautilus, warmed regularly by 
its electrical apparatus, defied the most intense cold. Be- 
sides, it would only have been necessary to go some yards 
beneath the surface of the waves to find a more bearable 
temperatuue. Two months earlier we should have had 
per2:)etual daylight in these latitudes; but already we had 
three or four liours night, and by and by there would be 
six months of darkness in these circum-polar regions. On 
the loth of March we were in the latitude of New Shet- 
land and South Orkney. The captain told me that for- 
merly numerous tribes of seals inhabited them; but that 
English and American whalers, in their rage for destruc- 
tion, massacred both old and young; thus where was once 
life and animation, they had left silence and death. 

About eight o'clock on the morning of the 16th of 
March, the Nautilus, following the fifty-fifth meridian, 
cut the antarctic polar circle. Ice surrounded us on all 
sides, and closed the horizon. But Captain Nemo went 
from one opening to another, still going higher. 1 cannot 
express my astonishment at the beauties of these new 
regions. The ice took most surprising forms. Here the 
grouping formed an Oriental town, with innumerable 
mosques and minarets; there a fallen city thrown to tho 
earth, as it were, by some convulsion of nature. The whole 
aspect was constantly changed by the oblique rays of the 
sun, or lost in the grayish fog amidst hurricanes of snow. 
Detonations and falls were heard ou all sides, great over- 


throws of icebergs, which altered the whole landscape like 
a diorama. Often seeing no exit, I thought we were defi- 
nitely prisoners; but instinct guiding him at the slightest 
indication Captain Nemo would discover a new pass. He 
was never mistaken when he saw the thin threads of bluish 
water trickling along the ice-fields; and I had no doubt 
that he had already ventured into the midst of these ant- 
arctic seas before. On the 16th of March, however, tlio 
ice-fields absolutely blocked our road. It was not the ice- 
berg itself, as yet, but vast fields cemented by the cold. 
But this obstacle could not stop Captain Nemo: he hurled 
himself against it with frightful violence. The Nautilus 
entered the brittle mass like a wedge, and split it wiiii 
frightful crackings. It was the battering-ram of the an- 
cient hurled by infiwite strength. The ice, thrown high in 
the air, fell like hail around us. By its own power of im- 
pulsion our apparatus made a canal for itself; sometimes 
carried away by its own impetus it lodged «n the ice-field, 
crushing it with its weight, and sometimes buried beneatli 
it, dividing it by a simple pitching movement, producing 
large rents in it. Violent gales assailed us at this time, 
accompanied by thick fogs, through which, from one end 
of the platform to the other, we could see nothing. The 
wind blew sharply from all points of the compass, and the 
snow lay in such hard heaps that we had to break it 
with blows of a pickax. The temperature was at five 
degrees below zero; every outward part of the Nautilus 
was covered with ice. A rigged vessel could never have 
worked its way there, for all the rigging would have been 
entangled in the blocked-up gorges. A vessel without 
sails, with electricity for its motive-power, and wanting 
no coal, could alone brave such high latitudes. At length, 
on the 18th of March, after many useless assaults, the 
Nautilus was positively blocked. It was no longer either 
streams, packs, or ice-fields, but an interminable and im- 
movable barrier, formed by mountains soldered together- 

*' An iceberg!" said the Canadian to me. 

I knew that to Ned Land, as well as to all other navi- 
gators who had preceded us, this was an inevitable 
obstacle. The sun appearing for an instant at noon, 
Captain Nemo took an observation as near as possible, 
which gave our situation at 51'' 30' longitude and 67** 39' 
as south latitude. We had advanced one degree more in 


this antarctic region. Of the liquid surface of the sea there 
was no longer a glimpse. Under the spur of the Nautilus 
lay stretched a vast plain, entangled with confused blocks. 
Here and there sharp points, and slender needles rising to 
a height of 200 feet; further on a steep shore, hewn as it 
were with an ax, and clothed with grayish tints; huge 
mirrors, reflecting a few rays of sunshine, half drowned in 
the fog. And over this desolate face of nature a stern 
silence reigned, scarcely broken by the flapping of the 
wings of petrels and puflBns. Everything was frozen — 
even the noise. The Nautilus was then obliged to stop in 
its adventurous course amid these fields of ice. In spite 
of our efforts, in spite of the powerful means employed to 
break up the ice, the Nautilus remained immovable. 
Generally, when we can proceed no further, we have re- 
turn still open to us; but here return was as impossible as 
advance, for every pass had closed behind us; and for the 
few moments when we were stationary, we were likely to 
be entirely blocked, which did, indeed, happen about 
two o'clock in the afternoon, the fr^sh ice forming around 
its sides with astonishing rapidity. I was obliged to admit 
that Captain Nemo was more than imprudent. I was on 
the platform at that moment. The captain had been ob- 
serving our situation for some time past, when he said to 

** Well, sir, what do you think of this?" 

** I think that we are caught, Captain." 

**So, M. Aronnax, you really think that the Nautilus 
cannot disengage itself." 

'* With difficulty. Captain; for the season is already too 
far advanced for you to reckon on the breaking up of the 

** Ah! sir," said Captain Nemo, in an ironical tone, 
**you will always be the same. You see nothing but diffi- 
culties and obstacles. I affirm that not only can the 
Nautilus disengage itself, but also that it can go further 

*' Further to the south?" I asked, looking at the cap- 

"Yes, sir; it shall go to the pole." 

"To the pole!" I exclaimed, unable to repress a gesture 
of incredulity. 

** Yes," replied the captain, coldly, " to the antarctic 


pole, to that unknown point from whence springs every 
meridian of the globe. You know whether I can do as I 
please with the Nautilus?" 

Yes, I knew that. I knew that this man was bold, 
even to rashness. But to conquer those obstacles which 
bristled round the south pole, rendering it more inacces- 
sible than the north, which had not yet been reached by 
the boldest navigators — was it not a mad enterprise, one 
which only a maniac would have conceived? It then came 
into my head to ask Captain Nemo if he had ever discovered 
that pole which had never yet been trodden by a human 

" No, sir," he replied, '* but we will discover it together. 
Where others have failed, / will not fail. I have never 
yet led my Nautilus so far into southern seas; but, I re- 
peat, it shall go further yet." 

" I can well believe you. Captain," said I, in a slightly 
ironical tone. "I believe you. Let us go ahead! There 
are no obstacles for us! Let us smash this iceberg! Let 
us blow it up; and if it resists, let us give the Nautilus 
wings to fly over it!" 

" Over it, sir!" said Captain Nemo quietly; "no, not 
over it, but under it!" 

*' Under it!" I exclaimed, a sudden idea of the captain's 
projects flashmg upon my mind. I understood the wou- 
derful qualities of the Nautilus were going to serve us in 
this superhunjan enterprise. 

" I see we are beginning to understand one another, 
gir," said the captain, half smiling. " You begin to see 
the possibility — I should say the success — of this attempt. 
That which is impossible for an ordinary vessel, is easy 
to the Nautilus. If a continent lies before the pole, it 
must stop before the continent; but if on the contrary, 
the pole is washed by open sea, it will go even to the pole." 

" Certainly," said I, carried away by the captain's rea- 
soning; " if the surface of the sea is solidified by the ice, 
' the lower depths are free by the providential law which 
has placed the maximum of density of the waters of the 
ocean one degree higher than freezing point; and, if I 
am not mistaken, the portion of this iceberg which is 
above the water is as one to four to that which is below." 

" Very nearly, sir; for one foot of iceberg above the sea 
there are three below it. If these ice mountains are not 


more than 300 feet above the surface, they are not more 
than 900 beneath. And what are 900 feet to the Nau- 

** Nothing, sir." 

" It could even seek at greater depths that uniform 
temperature of sea water, and there brave with impunity 
the thirty or forty degrees of surface cold." 

"Just so, sir — just so," I replied, getting animated. 

*'The only difficulty," continued Captain Nemo, "is 
that of remaining several days without renewing our pro- 
vision of air." 

*' Is that all? The Nautilus has vast reservoirs; we can 
fill them, and they will supply us with all the oxygen we 

" Well thought of, M. Aronnax," replied the captain, 
smiling. " But not wishing you to accuse me of rashness, 
I will first give you all my objections." 

" Have you any more to make?" 

" Only one. It is possible, if the sea exists at the 
south pole, that it may be covered; and, consequently, we 
shall be unable to come to the surface." 

" Good, sir! but do you forget that the Nautilus is 
armed with a powerful spur, and could we not send it 
diagonally against these fields of ice, which would open at 
the shock." 

"Ah! sir, you are full of ideas to-day." 

"Besides, Captain," I added, enthusiastically, "why 
should we not find the sea open at the south pole as well 
as at the north? The frozen poles and the poles of the 
earth do not coincide, either in the southern or in the 
northern regions; and, until it is proved to the contrary, 
we may suppose either a continent or an ocean free from 
ice at these two points of the globe." 

" I think so too, M. Aronnax," replied Captain Nemo. 
" I only wish you to observe that, after having made so 
many objections to my project, you are now crushing me 
with arguments in its favor!" 

The preparations for this audacious attempt now began. 
The powerful pumps of the Nautilus were working air 
into the reservoirs and storing it at high pressure. About 
four o'clock Captain Nemo announced the closing of the 
panels on the platform. I threw one last look at the 
massive iceberg which we were going to cross. The weather 


was clear, the atmosphere pure enough, the cold very 
great, being twelve degrees below zero; but tlie wind hav- 
ing gone down, this temperature was not so unbearable. 
About ten men mounted the sides of the Nautilus, armed 
with pickaxes to break the ice around the vessel, which 
was soon free. The operation was quickly performed, for 
the fresh ice was still very thin. We all went below. The 
usual reservoirs were filled with the newly liberated water, 
and the Nautilus soon descended. I had taken my place 
with Conseil in the saloon: through the open window we 
could see the lower beds of the Southern Ocean. The 
thermometer went up, the needle of tne compass deviated 
on the dial. At about 900 feet, as Captain Nemo had 
foreseen, we were floating beneath the undulating bottom 
of the iceberg. But the Nautilus went lower still — it 
went to the depth of four hundred fathoms. The tem- 
perature of the water at the surface showed twelve degrees, 
it was now only ten; we had gained two. 1 need not say 
the temperature of the Nautilus was raised by its heating 
apparatus to a much higher degree; every maneuver was 
accomplished with wonderful preci&ion. 

^'We shall pass it, if you please, sir," said Conseil. 

" I believe we shall," I said, in a tone of firm convic- 

In this open sea the Nautilus had taken its course direct 
to the pole, without leaving the fifty-second meridian. 
From 67° 30/ to 90°, twenty-two degrees and a half of 
latitude remained to travel, that is, about five hundred 
leagues. The Nautilus kept up a mean speed of twenty- 
six miles an hour — the speed of an express train. If that 
was kept up in forty-eight hours we should reach the pole. 

For a part of the night the novelty of the situation 
kept us at the window. The sea was lit with the elec- 
tric lantern; but it was deserted; fishes did not sojourn 
in these imprisoned waters; they only found there a 
passage to take them from the antarctic ocean to the 
open polar sea. Our progress was rapid; we could feel 
by the quivering of the long steel body. About two in 
the morning I took some hours' repose, and Conseil did 
the same. In crossing the waist I did not meet Captain 
Nemo; I supposed him to be in the pilot's cage. The 
next morning, the 19th of March, I took my post once 
more in the saloon. The electric log told me that the 


speed of the Nautilus had been slackened. It was then 
going toward the surface, but prudently emptying its 
reservoirs very slowly. My heart beat fast. Were we 
going to emerge and regain the open polar atmosphere? 
No! A shock told me that the Nautilus had struck the 
bottom of the iceberg, still very thick, judging from the 
deadened sound. We had indeed "struck," to use a 
sea expression, but in an inverse sense, at a thousand 
feet deep. This would give three thousand feet of ice 
above us; one thousand being above the water-mark. Tlie 
iceberg was then higher than at its borders — not a very 
reassuring fact. Several times that day the Nautilus tried 
again, and every time it struck the wall which lay like a 
ceiling above us. Sometimes it met with but 900 yards, 
only 200 of which rose above the surface. It was twice 
the height it was when the Nautilus had gone under the 
waves. I carefully noted the different depths, and thus 
obtained a submarine profile of the chain as it was devel- 
oped under the water. That night no change had taken 
place in our situation. Still ice between four and five 
hundred yards in depths! It was evidently diminishing, 
but still what a thickness between us and the surface of 
the ocean! It was then eight. According to the daily 
custom on board the Nautilus, its air should have been 
renewed four hours ago; but I did not suffer much, al- 
though Captain Nemo had not yet made any demand 
upon his reserve of oxygen. My sleep was painful that 
night; hope and fear besieged me by turns: I rose several 
times. The groping of the Nautilus continued. About 
three in the morning, I noticed that the lower surface of 
the iceberg was only about fifty feet deep. One hundred 
and fifty feet now separated us from the surface of the 
waters. The iceberg was by degrees becoming an ice-field, 
the mountain a plain. My eyes never left the manometer. 
We were still rising diagonally to the surface, which spark- 
led under the electric rays. The iceberg was stretching 
both above and beneath into lengthening slopes; mile 
after mile it was getting thinner. At length, at six in the 
morning of that memorable day, the 19th of March, the 
door of the saloon opened, and Captain Nemo appeared. 
** The sea is open !" was all he said. 




I RUSHED on to the platform. Yes! the open sea, with 
but a few scattered pieces of ice and moving icebergs; a 
long stretch of sea; a world of birds in the air, and myriads 
of fishes under those waters which varied from intense blue 
to olive green, according to the bottom. The thermome- 
ter marked three degrees centigrade above zero. It was 
comparatively spring, shut up as we were behind this ice- 
berg, whose lengthened mass was dimly seen on our north- 
ern horizon. 

" Are we at the pole?" I asked the captain, with a beat- 
ing heart. 

'^I do not know," he replied. "At noon I will take 
our bearings." 

" But will the son show himself through this fog?" said 
I, looking at the leaden sky. 

" However little it shows, it will be enough," replied 
the captain. 

About ten miles south, a solitary island rose to a height 
of one hundred and four yards. We made for'it, but care- 
fully, for the sea might be strewn with banks. One hour 
afterward we had reached it, two hours later we had made 
the round of it. It measured four or five miles in circum- 
ference. A narrow canal separated it from a considerable 
stretch of land, perhaps a continent, for we could not see 
its limits. The existence of this land seemed to give some 
color to Maury's hypothesis. The ingenious American 
has remarked that, between the south pole and the sixtieth 
parallel, the sea is covered with floating ice of enormous 
size, which is never met with in the North Atlantic. From 
this fact he has drawn the conclusion that the antarctic 
circle incloses considerable continents, as icebergs cannot 
form in open sea, but only on the coasts. According to 
these calculations, the mass of ice surrounding the south- 
ern pole forms a vast cap, the circumference of which must 
be, at least, 2,500 miles. But the Nautilus, for fear of 
running aground, had stopped about three cables' lengtk 
from a strand over which reared a superb heap of rocks. 


The boafc was lannched; the captain, two of his men bear- 
ing instruments, Conseil and myself, were in it. It was 
ten in the morning. I had not seen Ned Land. Doubt- 
less the Canadian did not wish to admit the presence of 
the south pole. A few strokes of the oar brought us to 
the sand, where we ran ashore. Conseil was going to jump 
on to the land, when I held him back. 

'* Sir," said I to Captain Nemo, " to you belongs the 
honor of first setting foot on this land." 

'' Yes, sir," sdd. the captain; ** and if I do not hesitate 
to tread this south pole, it is because, up to this time, no 
human being has left a trace there." 

Saying this, he jumped lightly on to the sand: His 
heart beat with emotion. He climbed a rock, sloping to 
a little promontory; and, there, with his arms crossed, 
mute and motionless, and with an eager look, he seemed 
to take possession of these southern regions. After five 
minutes passed in this ecstasy, he turned to us. 

" When you like, sir." 

I landed, followed by Conseil, leaving the two men in 
the boat. For a long way the soil was composed of a red- 
dish, sandy stone, something like crushed brick, scoriae, 
streams of lava, and pumice-stones. One could not mis- 
take its volcanic origin. In some parts, slight curls of 
smoke emitted a sulphurous smell, proving that the in- 
ternal fires had lost nothing of their expansive powers, 
though, having climbed a high acclivity, I could see no 
volcano for a radius of several miles. We know that in 
those antarctic countries, James Boss found two craters, 
the Erebus and Terror, in full activity, on the 167th 
meridian, latitude 11° 32'. The vegetation of this desolate 
continent seemed to be much restricted. Some lichens of 
the species usnea melanoxantha lay upon the black rocks; 
some microscopic plants, rudimentary diatomas, a kind of 
cells, placed between two quartz shells; long purple and 
scarlet fucus, supported on little swimming bladders, 
which the breaking of the waves brought to the shore. 
These constituted the meager flora of this region. The 
shore was strewn with molluscs, little mussels, limpets, 
smooth bucards in the shape of a heart, and particularly 
gome clios, with oblong membraneous bodies, the head of 
which was formed of two rounded lobes. I also saw myr- 
iads of northern clios, one and a quarter inches long, of 


which a whale would swallow a whole world at a mouthful: 
and some charming pteropods, perfect sea-butterflies, ani- 
mating the waters oq the skirts of the shore. 

Amongst other zobphites, there appeared on the high 
bottoms some coral shrubs, of that kind which, according 
to James Ross, live in the antarctic seas to the depth of 
more than 1.000 yards. Then there were little kingfishers 
belonging to the species procellaria pelagica, as well as a 
large number of asteriads, peculiar to these climates, and 
starfish studding the soil. But where life abounded most 
was in the air. There thousands of birds fluttered and 
flew of all kinds, deafening us with their cries; others 
crowded the rocks, looking at us as we passed by without 
fear, and pressing familiarly close by our feet. There were 
penguins, so agile in the water that they have been taken 
for the rapid bonitos, heavy and awkward as they are on 
the ground; they were uttering harsh cries, a large assem- 
bly, sober in gesture, but extravagant in clamor. Amongst 
the birds I noticed the chionis, of the long-legged family, 
as large as pigeons, white, with a short, conical beak, and 
the eye framed in a red circle. Conseil laid in a stock of 
them, for these winged creatures, properly prepared, make 
an agreeable meat. Albatrosses passed in the air (the 
expanse of their wings being at least four yards and a 
half), and justly called the vultures of the ocean; some 
gigantic petrels, and some damiers, a kind of small duck, 
the under part of whose body is black and white; then 
there were a whole series of petrels, some whitish with 
brown-bordered wings, others blue, peculiar to the antarctic 
seas, and so oily, as I told Conseil, that the inhabitants of 
tlie Faroe Islands had nothing to do before lighting them, 
but to put a wick in. 

"A little more," said Conseil, "'^and they would be 
perfect lamps! After that we cannot expect nature to 
have previously furnished them with wicks!" 

About half a mile further on, the soil was riddled with 
ruffs' nests, a sort of laying ground, out of which many 
birds were issuing. Captain Nemo had some hundreds 
hunted. They uttered a cry like the braying of an ass, 
w-ere about the size of a goose, slate color on the body, 
white beneath, with a yellow line round their throats; 
they allowed themselves to be killed with a stone, never 
trying to escape. But the fog did not lift, and at eleven 


the sun had not yet shown itself. Its absence made me 
uneasy. Without it no observations were possible. How 
then could we decide whether we had reached the pole? 
When I rejoined Captain Nemo, I found him leaning on 
a piece of rock, silently watching the sky. He seemed 
impatient and vexed. But what was to be done? This 
rash and powerful man could not command the sun as he 
did the sea. Noon arrived without the orb of day show- 
ing itself for an instant. We could not even tell its po- 
sition behind the curtain of fog; and soon the fog turned 
to snow. 

** Till to-morrow," said the captain quietly, and we re- 
turned to the Nautilus amid these atmospheric disturb- 

The tempest of snow continued till the next day. It 
was impossible to remain on the platform. From the 
saloon, where I was taking notes of incidents happening 
during the excursion to the polar continent, I could hear 
the cry of petrels and albatrosses sporting in the midst of 
this violent storm. The Nautilus did not remain motion- 
less, but skirted the coast, advancing ten miles more to 
the south in the half-light left by the sun as it skirted the 
edge of the horizon. The next day, the 30th of March, 
the snow had ceased. The cold was a little greater, the 
thermometer showing two degrees below zero. The fog 
was rising, and I hoped that that day our observations 
might be taken. Captain Nemo not having yet appeared, 
the boat took Conseil and myself to land. The soil was 
still of the same volcanic nature; everywhere were traces 
of lava, scoriae, and basalt; but the crater which had vom- 
ited them I could not see. Here, as lower down, this 
continent was alive with myriads of birds; but their rule 
was now divided with large troops of sea-mammals, look- 
ing at us with their soft eyes. There were several kinds 
of seals, some stretched on the earth, some on flakes of 
ice, many going in and out of the sea. They did not flee 
at our approach, never having had anything to do with 
man; and I reckoned that there were provisions there for 
hundreds of vessels. 

" Sir," said Conseil, "will you tell me the names of 
these creatures?" 

'* They are seals and morses." 

It was now eight in the morning. Four hours remained 


to US before the sun could be observed with advantage. 
I directed our steps toward a vast bay cut in the steep 
granite shoi'e. 

There, I can aver that earth and ice were lost to sight 
by the number of sea-mammals covering them, and I in- 
voluntarily sought for old Proteus, the mythological 
shepherd, who watched these immense flocks of Neptune. 
There were more seals than anything else, forming distinct 
groups, male and female, the father watching over. his 
family, the mother suckling her little ones, some already 
strong enough to go a few steps. When they wished to 
change their place, they took little jumps, made by the 
contraction of their bodies, and helped awkwardly enough 
by their imperfect fin, which, as with the lamantin, their 
congener, forms a perfect forearm. I should say that, in 
the water, which is their element — the spine of these 
creatures is flexible — with smooth and close skinj..and 
webbed feet, they swim admirably. In resting on the 
earth, they take the most graceful attitudes. Thus the 
ancients, observing their soft and expressive looks, whicli 
cannot be surpassed by the most beautiful look a woman 
can give, their clear voluptuous eyes, their charming posi- 
tions, and the poetry of their manners, metamorphosed 
them, the male into a triton and the female into a mer- 
maid. I made Conseil notice the considerable development 
of the lobes of the brain in these interesting cetaceans. No 
mammal, except man, has such a quantity of cerebral 
matter; they are also capable of receiving a certain amount 
of education, are easily domesticated, and I think,'with 
other naturalists, that, if properly taught, they would be 
of great service as fishing dogs. The greater part of them 
slept on the rocks or on the sand. Amongst these 
seals, properly so called, which have no external ears (in 
which they differ from the otter, whose ears are promi- 
nent), I noticed several varities of stenorhynchi about 
three yards long, with a white coat, bull-dog head, armed 
with teeth in both jaws, four incisors at the top and 
four at the bottom, and two large canine teeth in the 
shape of a "fleur de lis." Amongst them glided sea- 
elephants, a kind of seal, with short flexible trunks. The 
giants of this species measured twenty feet round, and ten 
yards and a half in length; but they did not move as we 

234 20,000 iBAGUES under the seas. 

*' These creatures are not dangerous?" asked Conseil. 

"No; not unless you attack them. When they have to 
defend their young, their rage is terrible, and it is not 
uncommon for them to break the fishing-boats to pieces." 

**They are quite right," said Conseil. 

"I do not say they are not." 

Two miles further on we were stopped in the promontory 
which shelters the bay from the southerly winds. Be- 
yond it we heard loud bellowing such as a troop of 
ruminants would produce. 

'* Good!" said Conseil; "a concert of bulls!" 

** No; concert of morses," 

" They are fighting!" ' 

" They are either fighting or playing." 

We now began to climb the blackfish rocks, amid un- 
foreseen stumbles, and over stones which the ice made slip- 
perjf. More than once I rolled over, at the expense of my 
loins. Conseil, more prudent or more steady, did not 
stumble, and helped me up, saying: 

**If, sir, you would have the kindness to take wider 
steps, you would preserve your equilibrium better." 

Arrived at the upper ridge of the promontory, I saw a 
vast white plain covered with morses. They were playing 
amongst themselves, and what we heard were bellowings 
of pleasure, not of anger. 

As I passed near these curious animals, I could examine 
them leisurely, for they did not move. Their skins were 
thick and rugged, of a yellowish tint, approaching to red; 
thefi" hair was short and scant. Some of them were four 
yards and a quarter long. Quieter and less timid than 
their cogeners of the north, they did not, like them, place 
sentinels round the outskirts of their encampment. After 
examining this city of morses, I began to think of return- 
ing. It was eleven o'clock, and if Captain Nemo found 
the conditions favorable for observation, I wished to be 
present at the operation. We followed a narrow pathway 
running along the summit of the steep shore. At half 
past eleven we had reached the place where we landed. 
The boat had run aground bringing the captain. I saw 
him standing on a rock of basalt, his instruments near 
liim, his eyes fixed on the northern horizon, near which 
the sun was then describing a lengthened curve. I took 
my place beside him, and waited without speaking. Noon 


arrived, and, as before, the sun did not appear. It was a 
fatality. Observations were still wanting. If not accom- 
plished to-morrow, we must give up a'l idea of taking any. 
We were indeed exactly at the 20th of March. To-morrow, 
the 21st, would be the equinox; the sun would disappear be- 
hind the horizon for six months, and with its disappear- 
ance the long polar night would begin. Since the Sep- 
tember equinox it had emerged from the northern horizon, 
rising by lengthened spirals up to the 21st of December. 
At this period, the summer solstice of the northern regions, 
it had begun to descend, and to-morrow was to shed its 
last rays upon them. I communicated my fears and ob- 
servations to Captain Nemo. 

** You are right, M. Aronnax," said he; "if to-morrow 
I cannot take the altitude of the sun, I shall not be able 
to do it for six months. But precisely because chance has 
led me into these seas on the 31st of March, my bearings 
will be easv to take, if at twelve we can see the sun." 

** Why, "Captain?" 

*' Because then the orb of day describes such length- 
ened curves, that it is diflBcult to measure exactly its height 
above the horizon, and grave errors may be made with 

'* What will you do then?" 

"I shall only use my chronometer," replied Captain 
Nemo. " If to-morrow, the 21st of Mai-ch, the disc of the 
sun, allowing for refraction, is exactly cut by the northern 
horizon, it will show that I am at the south pole." 

" Just so," said I. " But this statement is not math- 
ematically correct, because the equinox does not necessari- 
ly begin at noon." 

*' Very likely, sir; but the error will not be a hundred 
yards, and we do not want more. Till to-morrow then!" 

Captain Nemo returned on board. Conseil and I re- 
mained to survey the shore, observing and studying until 
five o'clock. Then I went to bed, not however, without 
invoking, like the Indian the favor of the radiant orb. 
The next day, the 21st of March, at five in the morning, 
I mounted the platform. I found Captain Nemo there. 

*' The weather is lightening a little," said he. " I have 
some hope. After breakfast we will go on shore, and 
choose a post for observation." 

That point settled, I sought Ned Land. I wanted to 


take him with me. But the obstinate Canadian refused, 
and I saw that his taciturnity and his bad humor grew 
day by day. After all I was not sorry for his obstinacy 
under the circumstances. Indeed, there were too many 
seals on shore, and we ought not to lay such temptation in 
this unreflecting fisherman's way. Breakfast over, we 
went on shore. The Nautilus had gone some miles further 
up in the night. It was a whole league from the coast, 
above which reared a sharp peak about five hundred yards 
high. The boat took with me Captain Nemo, two men of 
the crew, and the instruments, which consisted of a chro- 
nometer, a telescope, and a barometer. While crossing, I 
saw numerous whales belongiBg to the three kinds peculiar 
to the southern seas; the whale, or the English "right 
whale," which has no dorsal fin; the " humpback," or ba- 
laenopteron, with reeved chest, and large whitish fins, 
which, in spite of its name, do not form wings; and the 
fin-back, of a yellowish brown, the liveliest of all the ceta- 
cea. This powerful creature is heard a long way off when 
he throws to a great height columns of air and vapor, 
which look like whirlwinds of smoke. These different 
mammals were disporting themselves in troops in the quiet 
waters; and I could see that this basin of the antarctic 
pole served as a place of refuge to the cetacea too closely 
tracked by the hunters. I also noticed long whitish lines 
of salpse, a kind of gregarious mollusc, and large medusae 
floating between the reeds. 

At nine we landed; the sky was brightening, the clouds 
were flying to the south, and the fog seemed to be leaving 
the cold surface of the waters. Captain Nemo went to- 
ward the peak, which he doubtless meant to be kis obser- 
vatory. It was a painful ascent over the sharp lava and 
the pumice-stones, in an atmosphere often impregnated 
with a sulphurous smell from the smoking-cracks. For a 
man unaccustomed to walk on land, the captain climbed 
the steep slopes with an agility I never saw ecjualed, and 
which a hunter would have envied. We were two liours 
getting to the summit of this peak, which v/as half por- 
phyry and half basalt. From thence we looked upon a 
vast sea, which, toward the north, distinctly traced its 
boundary line upon the sky. At our feet lay fields of 
daazling whiteness. Over our heads a pale azure, free 
from fog. To the north the disc of the sun seemed like & 


ball of fire, already horned by the cutting of the horizon. 
From the bosom of the water rose sheaves of liquid jets by 
hundreds. In the distance lay the Nautilus like a cetacean 
asleep on the water. Benind us, to the south and east, an 
immense country, and a chaotic heap of rocks and ice, the 
limits of which were not visible. On arriving at the sum- 
mit, Captain Nemo carefully took the mean height of the 
barometer, for he would have lo consider that in taking 
his observations. At a qu-arter to twelve, the sun, then 
seen only by refraction, looked like a golden disc shedding 
its last rays upon the deserted continent, and seas which 
never man had yet plowed. Captain Nemo, furnished 
with a lenticular glass, which, by means of a mirror, cor- 
rected the refraction, watched the orb sinking below the 
horizon by degrees, following a lengthened diagonal. I 
held the chronometer. My heart beat fast. If the dis- 
appearance of the half-disc of the sun coincided with 
twelve o'clock on the chronometer, we were at the pole 

" Twelve!" I exclaimed. 

"The South Pole!" replied Nemo, in a grave voice, 
handing me the glass, which showed the orb cut in exactly 
equal parts by the horizon. 

I looked at the last rays crowning the peak and the 
shadows mounting by degress up the slope. At that 
moment Captain Nemo, resting with his hands on my 
shoulder, said: 

"1, Captain Nemo, on this 21st day of March, 1868, 
have reached the south pole on the ninetieth degree; and 
T take possession of this part of the globe, equal to one- 
sixth of the known continents." 

** In whose name. Captain?" 

'*In my own, sir." 

Saying which. Captain Nemo unfurled a black banner, 
bearing an N in gold quartered on its bunting. Then, 
turning toward the orb of day, whose last rays lapped the 
horizon of the sea, he exclaimed: 

•' Adieu, sun! Disappear, thou radiant orb; rest beneath 
this open sea, and let a night of six months spread its 
ahadows over my new domain!" 




The next day, the 22d of March, at six in the morning, 
preparations for depr.rture were begun. The last gleams 
of twilight were melting into night. The cold was great; 
the constellations shone with wonderful intensity. In the 
zenith glittered that wonderous Southern Cross — the polar 
bear of antarctic regions. The thermometer showed 
twelve degress below zero, and when the wind freshened, 
it was most biting. Flakes of ice increased on the open 
water. The sea seemed everywhere alike. Numerous 
blackish patches spread on the surface, showing the forma- 
tion of fresh ice. Evidently the southern basin, frozen 
during the six winter months, was absolutely inaccessible. 
What became of the whales in that time? Doubtless they 
went beneath the icebergs, seeking more practicable seas. 
As to the seals and morses, accustomed to live in a hard 
climate, they remained on these icy shores. These creat- 
ures have the instinct to break holes in the ice-fields, and 
to keep them open. To these holes they come for breath; 
when the birds, driven away by the cold, have emigrated 
to the north, these sea mammals remain sole masters of 
the polar continent. But the reservoirs were filling with 
water, and the Nautilus was slowly descending. At 1,000 
feet deep it stopped; its screw beat the waves, and it ad- 
vanced straight toward the north, at a speed of fifteen 
miles an hour. Toward night it was already floating under 
the immense body of the iceberg. At three in the morn- 
ing I was awakened by a violent shock. I sat up in my 
bed and listened in the darkness, when I was thrown into 
the middle of the room. The Nautilns, after having 
strnck, had rebounded violently. I groped along the 
partition, and by the staircase to the saloon, which was 
lit by the luminous ceiling. The furniture was upset. 
Fortunately the windows were firmly set, and had held 
fast. The pictures on the starboard-side, from being no 
longer vertical, were clinging to the paper, whilst those 
on the portNside were hanging at least a foot from the wall. 
The J»jautilus was lying on its starboard-side, perfectly 


motionless. I heard footsteps, and a confasion of voices; 
but Captain Nemo did not appear. As I was leaving the 
saloon, Ned Land and Conseil entered. 

*'*What is the matter?" said I, at once. 

*' I came to ask yon, sir," said Conseil. 

" Confound it!" exclaimed the Canadian, **I know well 
enough! The Nautilus has struck; and judging by the 
way she lies, I do not think she will right herself as she 
did the first time in Torres Straits.'^ 

" But," I asked, " has she at least come to the surface 
of the sea?" 

" We do not know," said Conseil. 

''It is easy to decide," I answered. I consulted the 
manometer. To my great surprise it showed a depth of 
more than 180 fathoms. "What does that mean?" I 

" We must ask Captain Nemo," said Conseil. 

" But where shall we find him?" said Ned Land. 

** Follow me," said I to my companions. 

We left the saloon. There was no one in the library. 
At the center staircase, by the berths of the ship's crew, 
there was no one. I thought that Captain Nemo must be 
in the pilot's cage. It was best to wait. We all returned 
to the saloon. For twenty minutes we remained thus, 
trying to hear the slightest noise which might be made on 
board the Nautilus, when Captain Nemo entered. He 
seemed not to see us; his face, generally so impassive, 
showed signs of uneasiness. He watched the compass 
silently, then the manometer; and going to the planisphere, 
placed his finger on a spot representing tlie southern seas. 
I would not interrupt him; but some minutes later, when 
he turned toward me, I said, using one of his own expres- 
sions in the Torres Straits: 

''An incident. Captain?" 

" No, sir; an accident this time." 


" Perhaps." 

'* Is the danger immediate?" 


" The Nautilus has stranded?" 

" Yes." 

" And this has happened — how?" 

**From a, caprice of nature, not from the ignorance of 


man. Not a mistake has been made in the working. 
But we cannot prevent equilibrium from producing its 
effects. We may brave human laws, but we cannot resist 
natural ones," 

Captain Nemo had chosen a strange moment for utter- 
ing this philosophical reflection. On the whole, his an- 
swer helped me a little. 

'* May I ask, sir, the cause of this accident?" 

*' An enormous block of ice, a whole mountain, has 
turned over," he replied. "When icebergs are under- 
mined at their base by warmer water or reiterated shocks, 
their center of gravity rises, and the whole thing turns 
over. This is what has happened; one of those blocks as 
it fell, struck the Nautilus, then, gliding under its hull, 
raised it with irresistible force, bringing it into beds 
which are not so thick, where it is lying on its side." 

" But can we not get the Nautilus off by emptying its 
reservoirs, that it may regain its equilibrium?" 

" That, sir, is being done at this moment. You can 
hear the pump working. Look at the needle of the 
manometer; it shows that the Nautilus is rising, but the 
block of ice is rising with it, and, until some obstacle 
stops its ascending motion, our position cannot be 

Indeed, the Nautilus still held the same position to 
starboard; doubtless it would right itself when the block 
stopped. But at this moment who knows if we may not 
strike the upper part of the iceberg, and if we may not 
be frightfully crushed between the two glassy surfaces? 
I reflected on all the consequences of our position. Cap- 
tain Nemo never took his eyes off the manometer. Since 
the fall of the iceberg, the Nautilus had risen about a 
hundred and fifty feet, but it still made the same angle 
with the perpendicular. Suddenly a slight movement was 
felt in the hold. Evidently it was righting a little. 
Things hanging in the saloon were sensibly returning to 
their normal position. The partitions were nearing the 
upright. No one spoke. With beating hearts we watched 
and felt the straightening. The boards became horizon- 
tal under our feet. Ten minutes passed. 

"At last we have righted!" I exclaimed. 

" Yes," said Captain Nemo, going to the door of the 


But are we floating?" I asked. 

** Certainly," he replied; since the reservoirs are not 
empty; and, when empty, the Nautilus must rise to the 
surface of the sea." 

We were in open sea; but at a distance of about ten 
yards, on either side of the Nautilus, rose a dazzling wall 
of ice. Above and beneath the same wall. Above, be- 
cause the lower surface of the iceberg stretched over 
us like an immense ceiling. Beneath, because the over- 
turned block, having slid by degrees, had found a rest- 
ing-place on the lateral walls, which kept it in that posi- 
tion. The Nautilus was really imprisoned in a perfect 
tunnel of ice more than twenty yards in breadth, filled 
with quiet water. It was easy to get out of it by going 
either forward or backward, and then make a free passage 
under the iceberg, some hundreds of yards deeper. The 
luminous ceiling had been extinguished, but the saloon 
was still resplendent with intense light. It was the power- 
ful reflection from the glass partition sent violently back 
to the sheets of the lantern. I cannot describe the effect 
of the voltaic rays upon the great blocks so capriciously 
cut; upon every angleji^every ridge, every facet, was 
thrown a different light, according to the nature of the 
veins running througli the ice; a dazzling mine of gems, 
particularly of sapphires, their blue rays crossing with 
the green of the emerald. Here and there were opal 
shades of wonderful softness, running through bright 
spots like diamonds of fire, the brilliancy of which the 
eye could not bear. The power of the lantern seemed in- 
creased a hundred-fold, like a lamp through the lenticular 
plates of a first-class lighthouse. 

" How beautiful! how beautiful!" cried Conseil, 

"Yes, I said, "it is a wonderful sight. Is it not, 

"Yes, confound it! Yes," answered Ned Land, "it 
is superb! I am mad at being obliged to admit it. No 
one has ever seen anything like it; but the sight may cost 
us dear. And if I must say all, I think we are seeing 
here things which God never intended man to see." 

Ned was right; it was too beautiful. Suddenly a cry 
from Conseil made mo turn. 

"What is it?" I ask-d. 


"Shut your eyes, sir! do not look, sir!" Saying which, 
Conseil clapped his hands over his eyes. 

'*But what is the matter, my boy?" 

" I am dazzled, blinded." 

My eyes turned involuntarily toward the glass, but I 
could not stand tlie fire which seemed to devour them. I 
understood what had happened. The Nautilus had put 
on full-speed. All the quiet luster of the ice-walls was at 
once changed into flashes of lightning. The fire from 
these myriads of diamonds was blinding. It required 
some time to calm our troubled looks. At last the hands 
were taken down. 

"Faith, I should never have believed it," said Conseil. 

It was then five in the morning; and at that moment a 
shock was felt at the bows of the Nautilus. I knew that 
its spur had struck a block of ice. It must have been a 
false maneuver, for this submarine tunnel, obstructed by 
blocks, was not very easy navigation. I thought that 
Captain Nemo, by changing his course, would either turn 
these obstacles, or else follow the windings of the tunnel. 
In any case, the road before us could not be entisely 
blocked. But^ contrary to my expectations, the Nautilus 
took a decided retrograde motiov. 

" We are going backward," said Conseil. 

" Yes," I replied. " This end of the tunnel can have 
no egress." 

" And then?" 

*' Then," said I, " the working is easy. We must go 
back again, and go out at the southern opening. That is 

In speaking thus, I wished to appear more confident 
than I really was. But the retrograde motion of the 
Nautilus was increasing; and, reversing the screw, it 
carried us at great speed. 

" It will be a hinderance," said Ned. 

" What does it matter, some hours more or less, pro- 
vided we get out at last?" 

"Yes." repeated Ned Land, "provided we do get out 
at last!" 

For a short time I walked from the saloon to the library. 
My companions were silent. I soon threw myself on an 
ottoman, and took a book, which my eyes overran me- 
chanically. A quarter of an hour after, Conseil, approach. 


ing me, said, ** Is what you are reading very interesting, 

'* Very interesting!" I replied. 

** I should think so, sir. It is your own book you are 

" My book?" 

And indeed I was holding in my hand the work on the 
''Great Submarine depths." I did not even dream of it. 
I closed the book, and returned to my walk. Ned and 
Conseil rose to go. 

*' Stay here, my friends," said I, detaining them. " Let 
us remain together until we are out of this block." 

** As you please, sir," Conseil replied. 

Some hours passed. I often looked at the instruments 
hanging from the partition. The manometer showed that 
the Nautilus kept at a constant depth of more than three 
hundred yards; the compass still pointed to the south; 
the log indicated a speed of twenty miles an hour, which, 
in such a cramped space, was very great. But Captain 
Nemo knew that he could not hasten too much, and that 
minutes were worth ages to us. At twenty-five minutes 
past eight a second shock took place, this time from be- 
hind. I turned pale. My companions were close by my 
side. I seized Conseil's hand. Our looks expressed our 
feelings better than words. At this moment the captain 
entered the saloon. I went up to him. 

" Our course is barred southward?" I asked. 

** Yes, sir. The iceberg has shifted, and closed every 

" We are blocked up, then?" 

*' Yes." 



Thus, around the Nautilus, above and below, was an 
impenetrable wall of ice. We were prisoners to the ice- 
berg. I watched the captain. His countenance had re- 
sumed its habitual imperturbability. 

" Gentlemen," he said, calmly, '" there are two ways of 
dying in the circumstances in which we are placed." 
(This inexplicable person had the air of a mathematical 
i?rofessor lecturing to his pupils.) "The first is to be 


crushed; the second is to die of suffocation. I do not 
speak of the possibility of dying of hunger, for the supply 
of provisions in the Nautilus will certainly last longer than 
we shall. Let us then calculate our chances." 

*' As to suffocation, Captain," I replied, " that is not to 
be feared, because our reservoirs are full." 

" Just so; but that will only yield two days' supply of 
air. Now, for thirty-six hours we have been hidden under 
the water, and already the heavy atmosphere of the Nauti- 
lus requires renewal. In forty-eight hours our reserve will 
be exhausted." 

" Well, Captain, can we be delivered before forty-eight 

" We will attempt it, a* least, by piercing the wall that 
surrounds us." 

** On which side?" 

" Sound will tell us. I am going to run the Nautilus 
aground on the lower bank, and my men will attack the 
iceberg on the side that is least thick." 

Captain Nemo went out. Soon I discovered by a hissing 
noise that t-he water was entering the reservoirs. The 
Nautilus sank slowly, and rested on the ice at a depth of 
350 yards, the depth at which the lower bank was im- 

" My friends," I said, " our situation is serious, but I 
rely on your courage and energy." 

" Sir," replied the Canadian, '*Iam ready to do any- 
thing for the general safety." 

"Good! Ned," and I held out my hand to the Cana- 

" I will add," he continued, " that being as handy with 
the pickax as with the harpoon, if I can be useful to the 
captain, he can command my services." 

'* He will not refuse your help. Come, Ned!" 

I led him to the room where the crew of the Nautilus 
were putting on their cork-jackets. I told the captain of 
Ned's proposal, which he accepted. The Canadian put 
on his sea-costume, and vyas ready as soon as his compai)- 
ions. When Ned was dressed, I re-entered the drawing- 
room, where the panes of glass were open, and, posted 
near Conseil, I examined the ambient beds that supported 
the Nautilus. Some instants after, we saw a dozen of the 
crew set foot on the bank of ice, and among them Ned 


Land, easily known by his stature. Captain Nemo was 
with them. Before proceeding to dig the walls, he took 
the soundings, to be sure of working in the right direc- 
tion. Long sounding lines were sunk in the side walls, 
but after fifteen yards they were again stopped by the 
thick wall. It was useless to attack it on the ceiling-like 
surface, since the iceberg itself measured more than 400 
yards in height. Captain Nemo then sounded the lower 
surface. There ten yards of wall separated us from the water, 
so great was the thickness of the icefield. It was necessary 
therefore, to cut from it a piece equal in extent to the 
water line of the Nautilus. There were about 6,000 cubic 
yards to detach, so as to dig a hole by which we could 
descend to the icefield. The work was begun immediately, 
and carried on with indefatigable energy. Instead of dig- 
ging round the Nautilus, which would have involved 
greater difficulty. Captain Nemo had an immense trench 
made at eight yards from the port quarter. Then the 
men set to work simultaneously with their screws, on 
several points of its circumference. Presently the pickax 
attacked this compact matter vigorously, and large blocks 
■were detached from the mass. By a curious effect of 
specific gravity, these blocks, lighter than water, fled, so 
to speak, to the vault of the tunnel, that increased in 
thickness at the top in proportion as it diminished at the 
base. But that mattered little, so long as the lower part 
grew thinner. After two hours hard work, Ned Land 
came in exhausted. He and his comrades were repfaced 
by new workers, whom Conseil and I joined. The second 
lieutenant of the Nautilus superintended us. The water 
seemed singularly cold, but I soon got warm handling the 
pickax. My movements were free enough, although they 
were made under a pressure of thirty atmospheres. When 
I re-entered, after working two hours, to take some food 
and rest, I found a perceptible difference between the pure 
fluid with which the Eouquayrol engine supplied me, and 
the atmosphere of the Nautilus already charged with car- 
bonic acid. The air had not been renewed for forty-eight 
hours, and its vivifying qualities were considerably en- 
feebled. However, after a lapse of twelve hours, we had 
only raised a block of ice one yaid thick, on the marked 
surface, which was about 600 cubic yards! Eeckoning that 
it took twelve hours to accomplish this much, it would 


take five nights and four days to bring this enterprise to 
a satisfactory conclusion. Five nights and four days! 
And we have only air enough for two days in the reser- 

" Without taking into account," said Ked, " that, even 
if we get out of this infernal prison, we shall also be im- 
prisoned under the iceberg, shut out from all possible com- 
munication with the atmosphere." 

Who could then foresee the minimum of time necessary 
for our deliverance? We might be suffocated before the 
Nautilus could regain the surface of the waves! Was it 
destined to perish in this ice-tomb, with all those it in- 
closed? The situation was terrible. But every one had 
looked the danger in the face, and each was determined 
to do his duty to the last. 

As I expected, during the night a new block a yard 
square was carried away, and still further sank the im- 
mense hollow. But in the morning when, dressed in my 
cork-jacket, I t»aversed the slushy mass at a temperature 
of six or seven degrees below zero, I remarked that the 
side walls were gradually closing in. The beds of water 
furthest from the trench, that were not warmed by the 
men's mere work, showed a tendency to solidification. In 
presence of this new and imminent danger, what would 
become of our chances of safety, and how hinder the solid- 
ification of this liquid medium, that would burst the par- 
titions of the Nautilus like glass! 

I did not tell my companions of this new danger. What 
was the use of damping the energy they displayed in the 
painful work of escape? But when I went on board again, 
I told Captain Nemo of this grave complication. 

"I know it," he said, in that calm tone which could 
counteract the most terrible apprehensions. "It is one 
danger more; but I see no way of escaping it; tne only 
cnance of safety is to go quicker than solidification. We 
must be beforehand with it, that is all." ' 

On this day for several hours I used my pickax vigor- 
ously. The work kept me up. Besides, to work was to 
quit the Nautilus, and breathe directly the pure air drawn 
from the reservoirs, and supplied by our apparatus, and 
to quit the impoverished and vitiated atmosphere. 
Toward evening the trench was dug one yard deeper. 
When I returned on board I was nearly suffocated by the 


carbonic acid with which the air was filled — ah? if we had 
only the chemical means to drive away this deleterious 
gas. We had plenty of oxygen; all this water contained 
a considerable quantity, and by dissolving it with our 
powerful piles, it would restore the vivifying fluid. I had 
thought well over it, but of what good was that, since the 
carbonic acid produced by our respiration had invaded 
every part of the vessel? To absorb it, it was necessary to 
fill some jars with caustic potash, and to shake them in- 
cessantly. Now this substance was wanting on board, and 
nothing could replace it. On that evening. Captain 
Nemo ought to open the taps of his reservoirs, and let 
some pure air into the interior of the Nautilus; without 
this precaution, we could not get rid of the sense of suffo- 
cation.. The next day, March 26, I resumed my miner's 
work, it beginning the fifth yard. The side walls and 
the lower surface of the iceberg thickened visibly. It was 
evident that they would meet before the Nautilus was 
able to disengage itself. Despair seized me for an instant, 
my pickax nearly fell from my hands. What was the 
good of digging if I must be suffocated, crushed by the 
water that was turning into stone? — a punishment that 
the ferocity of savages even would not have invented! 
Just then Captain Nemo passed near me. I touched his 
hand and showed him the walls of our prison. The wall to 
port had advanced to at least four yards from the hull of 
the Nautilus. The captain understood me, and signed 
me to follow him. We went on board. I took off my cork- 
jacket, and accompanied him into the drawing-room. 

" M. Aronnox, we must attempt some desperate means, 
or we shall be sealed up in this solidified water as in cement." 

" Yes; but what is to be done? " 

"Ah! if my Nautilus were strong enough to bear this 
pressure without being crushed!" 

"Well?" I asked, not catching the captain's idea. 

** Do you not understand," he replied, " that this con- 
gelation of the water will help us? Do you not see that, 
by its solidification, it would burst through this field of 
ice that imprisons us, as, when it freezes,^ it bursts the 
hardest stones? Do you not perceive that it would be an 
agent of safety instead of destruction?" 

" Yes, Captain, perhaps. But whatever resistance to 
crushing the Nautilus possesses, it could not support this 


terrible pressure, and would be flattened like an iron 

" I know it, sir. Therefore we must not reckon on the 
aid of Nature, but on our own exertions. We must stop 
this solidification. Not only will the side walls be pressed 
together, but there is not ten feet of water before or be- 
hind the Nautilus. The congelation gains on us on all 

"How long will the air in the reservoirs last for us to 
breathe on board?" 

The captain looked in my face. ''After to-morrow they 
will be empty!" 

A cold sweat came over me. • However, ought I to have 
been astonished at the answer? On March 22 the Nauti- 
lus was in the open polar seas. We were at 26**. For five 
days we had lived on the reserve on board. And what 
was left of the respirable air must be kept for the work- 
ers. Even now, as I write, my recollection is still so 
vivid, that an involuntary terror seizes me, and my lungs 
seem to be without air. Meanwhile Captain Nemo re- 
flected silently, and evidently an idea had struck him; 
but he seemed to reject it. At last these words escaped 
his lips: 

''Boiling water!" he muttered. 

"Boiling water!" I cried. 

" Yes, sir. We are inclosed in a space that is relatively 
confined. Would not jets of boiling water, constantly in- 
jected by the pumps, raise the temperature in this part, 
and stay the congelation?" 

" Lot us try it," I said, resolutely. 

" Let us try it, Professor." 

The thermometer then stood at seven degrees outside. 
Captain Nemo took me to the galleys, where the vast dis- 
tillatory machines stood that furnished the drinkable water 
by evaporation. They filled these with water, and all the 
electric heat from the piles was thrown through the worms 
bathed in the liquid. In a few minutes this water reached 
a hundred degrees. It was directed toward the pumps, 
while fresh water replaced it in proportion. The heat de- 
veloped by the troughs was such that cold water, drawn up 
from the sea, after only having gone through the machines, 
came boiling into the body of the pump. The injection 
was begun, and three hours after the thermometer marked 


iix degrees below zero outside. One degree was gained. 
Two hours later the thermometer only marked four de- 

'*' We shall succeed," I said to the captain, after having 
anxiously watched the result of the operation. 

" I think," he answered, *' that we shall not be crushed. 
We have no more than suffocation to fear." 

During the night the temperature of the water rose to 
one degree below zero. The injections could not carry it 
to a higher point. But as the congelation of the sea-water 
produces at least two degrees, I was at last reassured 
against the dangers of solidification. 

The next day, March 27, six yards of ice had been cleared, 
four yards only remaining to be cleared away. There was 
yet forty-eight hours' work. The air could not be renewed 
in the interior of the Nautilus. And thrs day would make 
it worse. An intolerable weight oppressed me. Toward 
three o'clock in the evening this feeling rose to a violent 
degree. Yawns dislocated my jaws. My lungs panted as 
they inhaled this burning fluid, which become rarefied 
more and more. A moral torpor took hold of me. I was 
powerless, almost unconscious. My brave Conseil, though 
exhibiting the same symptoms and suffering in the same 
manner, never left me. He took my hand and encouraged 
me, and I heard him murmur, "Oh, if I could only not 
breathe, so as to lea^ve more air for my master!" 

Tears came into my eyes on hearing him speak thus. If 
our situation to all was intolerable in the interior, with 
what haste and gladness would we put on our cork-jackets 
to work in our turn! Pickaxes sounded on the frozen ice 
beds. Our arms ached, the skin was torn off our hands. 
But what were these fatigues, what did the wounds mat- 
ter? Vital air came to the lungs! we breathed! we 
breathed ! 

All this time no one prolonged his voluntary task 
beyond the prescribed time. His task accomplished, each 
one handed in turn to his panting companions the 
apparatus that supplied him with life. Captain Nemo set 
the example, and submitted first to this severe discipline. 
When the time came he gave up his apparatus to another, 
and returned to the vitiated air on board, calm, unflinch- 
ing, unmurmuring. 

On that day the ordinary work was accomplished with 

250 20,000 LEAGUES UlsDER THE SEAS. • 

unusual vigor. Only two yards remained to be raised 
from the surface. Two yards only separated us from the 
open sea. But the reservoirs were nearly emptied of air. 
The little that remained ought to be kept for the workers; 
not a particle for the Nautilus. AVhen I went back on 
board, I was half suffocated. What a night! I know not 
how to describe it. The next day my breathing was 
oppressed. Dizziness accompanied the pain in my head, 
and made me like a drunken man. My companions 
showed the same symptoms. Some of the crew had rat- 
tling in the throat. 

On that day, the sixth of our imprisonment. Captain 
Nemo, finding the pickaxes work too slowly, resolved to 
crush the ice bed that still separated us from the liquid 
sheet. This man's coolness and energy never forsook him. 
He subdued his physical pains by moral force. 

By his orders the vessel was lightened, that is to say, 
raised from the ice bed by a change of specific gravity. 
When it floated they towed it so as to bring it above the 
immense trench made on the level of the water line. 
Then filling his reservoirs of water, he descended and shut 
himself up in the hole. 

Just then all the crew came on board, and the double door 
of communication was shut. The Nautilus then rested 
on the bed of ice, which was not one yard thick, and 
which the sounding leads had perforated in a thousand 
places The taps of the reservoirs were then opened, and 
a hundred cubic yards of water was let in, increasing the 
weight of the Nautilus to 1,800 tons. We waited, we 
listened, forgetting our sufferings in hope. Our safety 
depended on this last chance. Notwithstanding the buz- 
zing in my head, I soou heard the humming sound under 
the hull of the Nautilus. The ice cracked with a singular 
noise, like tearing paper, and the Nautilus sank. 

*' We are off!" murmured Conseil in my ear. 

I could not answer him. I seized his hand and pressed 
it convulsively. All at once, carried away by its frightful 
overcharge, the Nautilus sank like a bullet under the 
waters, that is to say, it fell as if it was in a vacuum. Then 
all the electric force was put on the pumps; that soon began 
to let the water out of the reservoirs. After some minutes 
our fall was stopped. Soon, too, the manometer indicated 
an ascending irjQYemeut. The screw going at full speed. 

20,000 LEAGUES UN-DER THE SEAcil ^5l 

made the iron hull tremble to its very bolts, and uVew U3 
toward the north. But if this floating under the ieeO^nrg 
is to last another day before we reach the open sea, I shaill 
be dead first. 

Half stretched upon a divan in the library, I was suffo- 
cating. My face was purple, my lips blue, my faculties 
suspended. I neither saw nor heard. All notion of time 
had gone from my mind. My muscles could not contract. 
I do not know how many hours passed thus, but I was 
conscious of the agony that was coming over me. 1 felt 
as if I was going to die. Suddenly I came to. Some 
breaths of air penetrated my lungs. Had we risen to the 
surface of the waves? Were we free of the iceberg? No; 
Ned and Conseil, my two brave friends, were sacrificing 
tliemselves to save me. Some particles of air still remained 
at the bottom of one apparatus. Instead of using it they 
had kept it for me, and while they were being suffocated, 
they gave me life drop by drop. I wanted to push back 
the thing; they held my hands, and for some moments I 
breathed freely. I looked at the clock; it was eleven m 
the morning. It ought to be the 28fch of March. The 
Nautilus went at a frightful pace, forty miles an hour. It 
literally tore through the water. Where was Captain 
Nemo? Had he succumbed? Were his companions dead 
with him? At the moment, the manometer indicated that 
we were not more than twenty feet from the surface. A 
mere plate of ice separated us from the atmosphere; could 
we not break it? Perhaps. In any case the Nautilus was 
going to attempt it. I felt it attaining an oblique position, 
lowering the stern, and raising the bows. The introduc- 
tion of water had been the means of disturbing its equi- 
librium. Then, impelled by its powerful screw, it attacked 
the ice-field from beneath like a formidable battering-ram. 
It broke it by backing and then rushing forward against 
the field, which gradually gave way; and at last, dashing 
suddenly against it, shot forward on the icy field, that 
crushed beneath its weight. The panel was opened — one 
might say torn off — and the pure air came in in abundance 
to all parts of the Nautilus. ' 

aSa 'i-U^OOO leagues under the SEJLS. 




How I got on the platform, I have no idea; perhaps the 
Canadian had carried me there. But I breathed, I inhaled 
the vivifying sea-air. My two companions were getting 
drunk with the fresh particles. The other unhappy men 
had been so long without food, that they could *not with 
impunity indulge in the simplest aliments that were given 
them. We, on the contrary, had no need to restrain our- 
selves; we could draw this air freely into our lungs, and it 
was the breeze, the breeze alond, that filled us with this 
keen enjoyment. 

'*Ah!" said Conseil, *' how delightful this oxygen is! 
Master need not fear to breathe it. There is enough for 

Ned Land did not speak, but he opened his jaws wide 
enough to frighten a shark. Our strength soon returned, 
and when I looked round me, I saw we were alone on the 
platform. The foreign seamen in the Nautilus were con- 
tented with the air that circulated in the interior; none of 
them had come to drink in the open air. 

The first words I spoke were words of gratitude and 
thankfulness to my two companions. Ned and Oonseil 
had prolonged my life during the last hours of this long 
agoi;y. All my gratitude could not repay such devotion. 

" My friends," said I, *' we are bound one to the other 
forever, and I am under infinite obligations to you." 

** Which I shall take advantage of," exclaimed the Ca- 

" What do you mean?" said Conseil. 

" I mean that I shall take you with me when I leave 
this infernal Nautilus." 

*' Well," said Conseil, ** after all this, are we going 

** Yes," I replied, " for we are going the way of the sun, 
and here the sun is in the north." 

"No doubt," said Ned Land; "but it remains to be 
seen whether he will bring the ship into the Pacific or 


the Atlantic Ocean; that is, into frequented or deserted 

I could not answer that question, and I feared that 
Captain Nemo would rather take ns to the vast ocean that 
touches the coast of Asia and America at the same time. 
He would thus complete the tour round the submarine 
world, and return to tliose waters in which the Nautilus 
could sail freely. We ought, before long, to settle this 
important point. The Nautilus went at a rapid pace. 
The polar circle was soon pa?sed, and the course shaped 
t(A- Cape Horn. We were off the American point, March 
31, at seven o'clock in the evening Then all our past 
sufferings were forgotten. The remembrance of that im- 
prisonment in the ice was effaced from our minds. We 
only thought of the future. Captain Nemo did not appear 
again either in the drawing-room or on the platform. The 
point shown each day on the planisphere, and marked by 
the lieutenant, showed me the exact direction of the 
Nautilus. Now, on that evening, it was evident, *:o my 
great satisfaction, that we were going back to the North 
by the Atlantic. The next day, April 1, when the Nau- 
tilus ascended to the surface, some minutes before noon, 
we sighted land to the west. It was Terra del Fuego, 
which the first navigators named thus from seeing the 
quantity of smoke which rose from the natives' huts. 
The coast seemed low to me, but in the distance rose 
high mountains. I even thought I had a glimpse of 
Mount Sarmiento, that rises 2,070 yards above the level 
of the sea, with a very pointed summit, which, accord- 
ingly as it is misty or clear, is a sign of fine or of wet 
weather. At this moment the peak was clearly defined 
against the sky. The Nautilus, diving again under the 
water, approached the coast, which vas only some few 
miles off. From the glass windows in the drawing-room, 
I saw long sea- weeds, and gigantic fuci, and varech, of 
which the open polar sea contains so many specimens, with 
their sharp polished filaments; they measured about 300 
yards in length — real cables, thicker than one's thumb; 
and having great tenacity, they are often used as ropes for 
vessels. Another weed known as velp, with leaves four 
feet long, buried in the coral concretions, hung at the bot- 
tom. It served as nest and food for myriads of Crustacea 
and molhisks, crabs and cuttle-fish. 'J'hcre sea-s an 1 ottev* 

254 30,000 LEAGUES UN-DER THE 8EA8. 

bad splendid repasts, eating the flesh of fisli with sea-vege- 
tables, according to the English fashion. Over this fertile 
and luxuriant ground the Nautilus passed with great rapid- 
ity. Toward evening it approached the Falkland group, 
the rough summits of which I recognized the following 
day. The depth of the sea was moderate. On the shores, 
our nets brought in beautiful specimens of sea-weed, and 
particularly a certain fucus, the roots of which Avere filled 
with the best mussels in the world. Geese and ducks fell 
by dozens on the platform, and soon took their phices in 
the pantry on board. With regard to fish, I observed es- 
pecially specimens of the goby species, some two feet long, 
all over white and yellow spots. I admired also numerous 
medusae, and the finest of the sort, the crysaora, peculiar 
to the sea about the Falkland Isles. I should have liked 
to preserve some specimens of these delicate zoophytes; 
but they are only like clouds, shadows, apparitions, that 
sink and evaporate, when out of their native element. 

When the last heights of the Falklands had disa})peared 
from the horizon flie Nautilus sank to between twenty and 
twenty-five yards, and followed the Amefican coast. 
Captain Nemo did not show himself. Until the 3d of 
April we did not quit the shores of Patagonia, sometimes 
under the ocean, sometimes at the surface. The Nautilus 
passed beyond the large estuary formed by the mouth of 
the Plata, and was on the 4th of April, fifty-six n'liles off 
Uruguay. Its direction was northward, and followed 
the long windings of the coast of South America. We 
had then made 16,000 miles since our embarkation in the 
seas of Japan. About eleven o'clock in the morning the 
Tropic of Capricorn was crossed on the thirty-seventh 
meridian, and we passed Cape Frio standing out to sea. 
Captain Nemo, to Ned Land's great displeasure, did not 
like the neighborhood of the inhabited coasts of Brazil, 
for we went at a giddy speed. Not a fish, not a bird of 
the swiftest kind could follow us, and the natural curiosi- 
ties of these seas escaped all observation. 

This speed was kept up for several days, and in the 
evening of the 9th of April we sighted the most easterly 
point of South America that forms Cape San Roque. But 
then the Nautilus swerved again, and sougiit the lowest 
depth of a submarine , valley which is between this cape 
and Sierra Leone on the African coast. This valley 

20,000 LEAGUES UisDER THE SEAS. 255 

bifurcates to the parallel of the Antilles, and terminates 
at the north by the enormous depression of 9,000 yards. 
In this place, the geological basin of the ocean forms, as 
far as the Lesser Antilles, a cliff of three and a half milea 
perpendicular in height, and at the parallel of the Cape 
Verd Islands, another wall nolji less considerable, that 
incloses thus all the sunk continent of the Atlantic, The 
bottom of this immense valley is dotted with some mount- 
ains, that give to these submarine places a picturesque 
aspect. I speak, moreover, from the manuscript charts 
that were in the library of the Nautilus — charts evidently 
due to Captain Nemo's hand, and made after his personal 
observations. For two days the desert and deep waters 
were visited by means of the inclined planes. The Nau- 
tilus was furnished with long diagonal broadsides which 
carried it to all elevations. But on the 11th of April, it 
rose suddenly and land appeared at the mouth of the 
Amazon River, a vast estuary, the embouchure of which 
is so considerable that it freshens the sea-water for the 
distance of several leagues. 

The equator was crossed. Twenty miles to the west 
were the Guianas, a French territory, on which we could 
have found an easy refuge; but a stiff breeze was blowing, 
and the furious waves would not have allowed a single 
boat to face them. Ned Land understood that, no doubt, 
for he spoke not a word about it. For my part, I made 
no allusions to his schemes of flight, for I would not urge 
him to make an attempt that must inevitably fail. I made 
the time pass pleasantly by interesting studies. During 
the days of April 11th and 12th, the Nautilus did not 
leave the surfade of the sea, and the net brought in a 
marvelous Imul of zoophytes, fish and reptiles. Some 
zoophytes had been fished up by the chain of the nets; 
they were for the most part beautiful phyctallines, belong- 
ing to the actinidian family, and among other species the 
phyctalis protexta, peculiar to that part of the ocean, 
with a little cylindrical trunk, ornamented with vertical 
lines, speckled with red dots, crowning a marvelous blos- 
soming of tentacles. As to the mollusks, they consisted 
of some I had already observed — turritellas, olive por- 
phyras, with regular lines intercrossed, with red spots 
standing out plainly against the flesh; odd peteroceras, 
like petrified scorpions; translucid hyaleas, argonauts, 


cuttle-fish (excellent eating), and certain species of cala- 
mars that naturalists of antiquity have classed amongst 
the flying-fish, and that serve principally for bait for cod- 
fishing. I hud not an opportunity of studying several 
species of fish on these shores. Amongst the cartilagi- 
nous ones, petromyzoiis-pricka, a sort of eel, fifteen inches 
long, with a greenish head, violet fins, gray-blue back, 
brown belly, silvered and sown with bright spots, the 
pupil of the eye encircled with gold — a curious animal, 
that the current of the Amazon had drawn to the sea, for 
they inhabit fresh waters — tuberculated streaks, with 
pointed snouts and a long loose tail, armed with long 
Jagged stings; little sliarks, a yard long, gray and whitish 
skin, and several rows of teeth bent back that are gen- 
erally known by tlie name of pantouffles; vespertilios, a 
kind of isosceles triangle, half a yard long, to which pec- 
terals are attached by flesliy prolongations that make them 
look like bats, but that their horny appendage, situated 
near the nostrils, has given them the name of sea-uni- 
corns; lastly, some species of balistae, the curassavian, 
whose spots were of a brilliant gold color, and the capris- 
cus of clear violet, and with varying shades like a pigeon's 

I end here this catalogue, which is somewhat dry, per- 
haps, but very exact, with a series of bony fish that I 
observed in passing belonged to the apteronotes, and whose 
snout is white as snow, the body of a beautiful black, 
marked with a very long loose fleshy strip; odontognathes, 
armed with spikes; sardines, nine inches long, glittering 
with a bright silver light; a species of mackerel provided 
with two anal fins: centronotes of a blackish tint, that 
are fished for with torches, long fish, two yards in length, 
with fat flesh, white and firm, which, when they are fresh, 
taste like eel, and when dry, like smoked salmon; labres, 
half red, covered with scales only at the bottom of the 
dorsal and anal fins; chrysoptera, on which gold and silver 
blend their brightness with that of the ruby and topaz; 
golden-tailed spares, the flesh of which is extremely deli- 
cate, and whose phosphorescent properties betray them in 
the midst of the waters; orange- colored spares, with a 
long tongue; maigres, with gold caudal fins, dark thorn- 
tails, anableps of Surinam, etc. 

Notwithstanding this " etcetera/' I must not omit to 

20,000 LEAGUES UNL>Ell THE SEAS. 257 

mention fish tliat Conseil will long remember, and with 
good reason. One of our nets had hauled up a sort of 
very flat rayfish, which, with the tail cut off, formed a 
perfect disk, and weighed twenty ounces. It was white 
underneath, red above, with large round spots of dark 
blue encircled with black, very glossy skin, terminating in 
a bilobed fin. Laid out on the platform, it struggled, 
tried to turn itself by convulsive movements, and made so 
many efforts that one last turn had nearly sent it into the 
sea. But Conseil, not wishing to let the fish go, rushed 
to it, and, before I could prevent him, had seized it with 
both hands. In a moment he was overthrown, his legs in 
the air, and half his body paralyzed, crying: 

" master, master! come to me!" 

It was the first time the poor boy had not spoken to me 
in the third person. The Canadian and I took him up, 
and ru'bbed his contracted arms till he became sensible. 
The unfortunate Conseil had attacked a cramp-fish of the 
most dangerous kind — the cumana. This odd animal, in 
a medium conductor like water, strikes fish at several yards, 
distance, so great is the power of its electric organ, the two 
principal surfaces of which do not measure less than twenty- 
seven square feet. The next day, April 12, the Nautilus 
approached the Dutch coast, near the mouth of the Maroni. 
There several groups of sea-cows herded together; they 
were manatees, that, like the dugong and the stellera, be- 
long to the sirenian order. These beautiful animals, peace- 
able and inoffensive, from eighteen to twenty-one feet in 
length, weigh at least sixteen hundred weight. I told Ned 
Land and Conseil that provident nature had assigned an 
important role to these mammalia. Indeed, they, like the 
seals, are designed to giaze on the submarine prairies, and 
thus destroy the accumulation of weed that obstructs the 
tropical rivers. 

"And do you know," I added, " what has been the re- 
sult since men have almost entirely annihilated this useful 
race? That the putrefied weeds have poisoned the air, and 
the poisoned air causes the yollow fever, that desolates 
these beautiful countries. Enormous vegetations are ntul- 
ti plied under the torrid seas, and tlie evil is irresistibly 
developed from the mouth of the Rio de la Plata to Florida. 
If we are to believe Toussenel, this plague is nothing to 
what it would be if the seas were cleared of whales and 


seals. Then, infested with poulps, mednsas, and cuttle- 
fish, they would become immense centers of infection, 
since their waves would not possess * these vast stomachs 
that God had charged to infesc the surface of the seas.'" 

However, without, disputing these theories, the crew 
of the Nautilus took possession of half a dozen manatees. 
They provisioned the larders with excellent flesh superior 
to beef and veal. This sport was not interesting. 'I'he 
manatees allowed themselves to be hit without defending 
themselves. Several thousand pounds of meat were stored 
up on board to be dried. On this day a successful iuiul 
of fish increased the stores of the Nautilus, so full of 
game were these seas. They were echeneides belonging 
to the third family of the malacopterygiens: their flattened 
disks were composed of transverse movable cartilaginous 
plates, by which the animal was enabled to create a 
vacuum, and so to adhere to any object like a cupping- 
glass. The remoria that I had observed in the Mediter- 
ranean belongs to this species. But the one of which 
we are speaking was the echeneis ostecchera, peculiar to 
this sea. 

The fishing over, the Nautilus neared the coast. About 
here a number of sea-turtles were sleeping on the surface 
of the water. It would have been difficult to capture 
these precious reptiles, for the least noise awakens them, 
and their solid skull is proof against the harpoon. But 
the echeneis effects their capture with extraordinary j^recis- 
ion and certainty. This animal, is indeed, a living fish- 
hook, which would make the fortune of an experienced 
fisherman. The crew of the Nautilus tied a ring to the 
tail of these fish, so large as not to encumber their move- 
ments, and to this ring a long cord, lashed to the ship's 
side by the other end. The echeneides, thrown into the 
sea, directly began their game, and fixed themselves to the 
breastplate of the turtles. Their tenacity was such that 
they wore torn rather than let go their hold. The men 
hauled them on board, and with them the turtles to which 
they adhered. They also took several cacouunnes a yard 
long which weighed 400 pounds. Their carapace covered 
with large horny plates, thin, transparent, brown, with 
white, and yellow spots, fetch a good price in the market. 
Besides, they were excellent in a edible point of view, as 
well as the fresh turtles, which have an exquisite flavor, ' 


The day's fishing brought to a close our stay on the shores 
of the Amazon, and by nightfall the Nautilus had regained 
the high seas. 



Fob several days the Nautilus kept off from the Ameri- 
can coast. Evidently it did not wish to risk the tides of 
the Gulf of Mexico, or of the sea of the Antilles. April 
16th we sighted Martinique and Guadeloupe from a dis- 
tance of about thirty miles. I saw their tall peaks for an 
instant. The Canadian, who counted on carrying out his 
projects in the Gulf, by either landing, or hailing one of 
the numerous boats that coast from one island to another, 
was quite disheartened. Flight would have been quite 
practicable if Ned Land had been able to take possession 
of the boat without the captain's knowledge. But in the 
open sea it could not be thought of. The Canadian, Con- 
seil and I had a long conversation on this subject. For 
six months we had been prisoners on boai'd the Nautilus. 
We had traveled 17,000 leagues, and, as Ned Land said, 
there was no reason why it should not come to an end. 
We could hope nothing from the captain of the Nautilus, 
but only from ourselves. Besides, for some time past he 
had become graver, more retired, less sociable. He seemed 
to shun me. I met him rarely. Formerly, he was pleased 
to explain the submarine marvels to me, now, he left me 
to my studies, and came no more to the saloon. What 
change had come over him? For what cause? For my 
part, I did not wish to bury with me my curious and no'vel 
studies. I had now the power to write the true book of 
the sea; and this book, sooner or later, I wished to see 
daylight. Then again, in the water by the Antilles, ten 
yards below the surface of the waters, by the open panels, 
what interesting products I had to enter on my daily 
notes! There were, among other zoophytes, those known 
under the name of physalis pelagica, a sort of large ob- 
long bladder with mother-of-pearl rays, holding out their 
membrances to the wind, and letting their blue tenta- 
cles float like threads of silk: charming medusae to the 


eye, real nettles to the touch, that distill a corrosive fluid. 
There were also annelides, a yard and a half long, fur- 
nished with a pink horn, and with 1,700 locomotive 
organs, that wind through the waters, and throw out 
in passing all the light of the solar spectrum. There 
were, in the fisli category, some Malabar rays, enormous 
grisly things, ten feet long, weighing 600 pounds, the 
pectoral fiu triangular in the midst of a slightly humped 
back, the eyes fixed in the extremities of the face, beyond 
the head, and which floated like weft, and looked some- 
times like an opaque shutter on our glass window. There 
were American balistte, wliich nature has only dressed in 
black and white; gobies, with yellow fins and prominent 
jaws; mackerel sixteen feet long, with short pointed teeth, 
covered with^small scales, belonging to the albicore species. 
Then, in swarms, appeared gray mullet, covered with 
stripes of gold from the head to the tail, beating their 
resplendent fins, like masterpieces of jewelry, consecrated 
formerly 'to Diana, particularly sought after by rich 
Romans, and of which the proverb says, *•' Whoever takes 
them does not eat them." Lastly, pomacanthe dorees, 
ornamented with emerald bands, dressed in velvet and 
silk, passed before our eyes like Veronese lords ; spurred 
spari passed with their pectoral fins; clupanodons. fifteen 
inches long, enveloped iu their phosphorescent light; 
mullet beat the sea with their large jagged tail; red ven- 
daces seemed to mow the waves with their showy pectoral 
fins; and silvery selenes, worthy of their name, rose on 
the horizon of the waters like so many moons with whitish 
rays. April 20th we had risen to a mean height of 1,500 
yards. The land nearest us then was the archipelago of 
the Bahamas. There rose high submarine cliffs covered 
with large weeds, giant laminariae and fuci, a perfect 
espalier of hydrophytes worthy of a Titan world. It was 
about eleven o'clock when Ned Land drew my attention 
to a formidable pricking, like the sting of an ant, which 
was produced by means of large seaweeds. 

" Well," I said, " these are proper caverns for poulps. 
and I should not be astonished to see some of these 

"What!" said Conseil; "cuttle-fish, real cuttle-ffsh, 
of the cephalopod class." 

" No," i said; '* poulps of huge dimensions," 


*'I will never believe that such animals exist," said 

" Well," said Conseil, with the most serious air in the 
world, " I remember perfectly to have seen a large vessel 
drawn under the waves by a cephalopod's arm." 

" You saw that?" said the Canadian. 

'* res, Ned." 

** With your own eyes?" 

" With my own eyes." 

** Where, pray, might that be?" 

" At St. Male," answered Conseil. 

"In the port?" said Ned, ironically. 

*^No; in a church," replied Conseil. 

"In a church!" cried the Canadian. 

" Yes; friend Ned. In a picture representing the poulp 
in question." 

'* Good!" said Ned Land, bursting out laughing. 

" He is quite right," I said. "I have heard of this 
picture; but the subject represented is taken from a 
legend, and you know what to think of legends in the 
matter of naUiral history. Besides, when it is a question 
of monsters, the imagination is apt to run wild. Not only 
is it supposed that these poulps can draw down vessels, but 
a certain Glaus Magnus speaks of a cephalopod a mile long, 
that is more like an island, than an animal. It is also said 
that the Bishop of Nidros was building an altar on an im- 
mense rock. Mass finished, the rock began to walk, and 
returned to the sea. The rock was a poulp. Another 
bishop, Pontoppidan, speaks also of a poulp on which a 
regiment of cavalry could maneuver. Lastly, the ancient 
naturalists speak of monsters whose mouths where like 
gulfs, and which were too large to pass through the Straits 
of Gibraltar." 

" But how much is true of these stories?" asked Conseil. 

"Nothing, my friends; at least of that which passes the 
limit of truth to get to fable or legend. Nevertheless, 
there must be some ground for the imagination of the 
story-tellers. One cannot deny that poulps and cuttle-fish 
exist of a large species, inferior, however, to the cetaceans. 
Aristotle has stated the dimensions of a cuttle-fish as five 
cubits, or nine feet two inches. Our fishermen frequently 
see some that are more than four feet long. Some skeletons 


of poulps are preserved in the museums of Trieste and 
Montpelier, that measure two yards in length. Besides, 
according to the calculations of some naturalists, one of 
these animals, only six feet long, would have tentacles 
twenty-seven feet long. That would suffice to make a 
formidable monster." 

" Do they fish for them in these days?" asked Ned. 

** If they do not fish for them, sailors see tliem, at least. 
One of my friends. Captain Paul Bos, of Havre, lias often 
affirmed that he met one of these monsteis, of colossal 
dimensions, in the Indian seas. But the most astonishing 
fact, and which does not permit of the denial of the exist- 
ence of these gigantic animals, happened some years ago, 
in 1861." 

" What is the fact?" asked Ned Land. 

''This is it. In 1861, to the northeast of Teneriffe, 
very nearly in the same latitude we are in now, the crew of 
the dispatch-boat Alector perceived a monstrous cuttle-fish 
swimming in the waters. Captain Bouguer went near to 
the animal; and attacked it with harpoons and guns, with- 
out much success, for balls and harpoons glided over the 
soft flesh. After several fruitless attempts, the crew tried 
to pass a slip-knot round the body of the mollusc. The 
noose slipped as far as the caudal fins, and there stopped. 
They tried then to haul it on board, but its weight was so 
considerable that the tightness of the cord separated the 
tail from the body, and, deprived of this ornament, he 
disappeared under the water." 

''Indeed! Is that a fact?" 

"An indisputable fact, my good Ned. They proposed 
to name this poulp ' Bouguer's cuttle-fish.' " 

" What length was it?" asked the Canadian. 

"Did it not measure about six yards?" said Conseil, 
who, posted at the window, was examining again the 
irregular windings of the cliff. 

" Precisely," I replied. 

"Its head," rejoined Conseil, "was it not crowned with 
eight tentacles, that beat the water like a nest of serpents?" 

" Precisely." 

" Had not its eyes, placed at the back of its head, con* 
giderable development?" 

"Yes, Conieil." 


*' And was not its mouth like a parrot's beak?" 

" Exactly, Conseil?" 

"Very well! no offense to master," he replied, quietly; 
** if this is not Bouguer's cuttle-fish, it is, at least, one of 
its brothers." 

I looked at Conseil. Ned Land hurried to the window. 

" What a horrible beast!" he cried. 

I looked in my turn, and could not repress a gesture of 
disgust. Before my eyes was a horrible monster, worthy 
to figure in the legends of the marvelous. It was an im- 
mense cuttle-ffsh, being eight yards long. It swam cross- 
ways in the direction of the Nautilus with great speed, 
watching us with its enormous staring green eyes. Its 
eight arms, or rather feet, fixed to its head, that have 
given the name of cephalopod to these animals were twice 
as long as its body, and were twisted like the Furies' hair. 
One could see 250 air-holes on th-e inner side of the ten- 
tacles. The monster's mouth, a horned beak like a par- 
rot's opened and shut vertically. Its tongue a horned 
substance, furnished with several rows of pointed teeth, 
came out quivering from this veritable pair of shears. 
AVhat a freak of nature, a bird's beak on a mollusc! Its 
spindle-like body formed a flesh mass that might weigh 
4,000 or 5,000 lbs.; the varying color changing with great 
rapidity, according to the irritation of the animal, passed 
successively from livid gray to a reddish brown. What 
irritated this mollusc? No doubt the presence of the 
Nautilus, more formidable than itself, and on which its 
suckers or its jaws had no hold. Yet, what monsters these 
poulps are! what vitality the Creator has given them! 
what vigor in their movements! and they possess three 
hearts! Chance had brought us in presence of this cuttle- 
fish, and I did not wish to lose the opportunity of care- 
fully studying this specimen of cephalopods. I overcame 
the horror that inspired me; and, taking a pencil, began 
to draw it. 

"Perhaps this is the same which the Alector saw," 
said Conseil. 

"No," replied the Canadian; "for this is whole, and 
f;he other had lost its tail." 

"That is no reason," I replied. "The arms and tails 
of these animals are reformed bj redintegration; and, in 


seven years, the tail of Bonguer's cuttle-fish has no doubt 
had timo to grow." 

By I Ills time other poulps apjieared at tlie port light. 
IcouuLed seven. They formed a procession after the Nau- 
tilus, and'^I heard their beaks gnashing against the iron 
hull. I continued my work. These monsters kept in the 
water with such precision, that they seemed immovable. 
Suddenly the Nautilus stopped. A shock made it tremble 
in every plate. 

" Have we struck anything?" I asked. 

" In any case," replied the Canadian, '* we shall be free, 
for we are floating." 

The Nautilus was floating, no doubt, but it did not 
move. A minute passed. Captain Nemo, followed by his 
lieutenant, entered the drawing-room. I had not seen 
him for some time. He seemed dull. Without noticing 
or speaking to us, he went to the panel, looked at the 
poulps, and said something to his lieutenant. The latter 
went out. Soon the panels were shut. The ceiling was 
lighted. I went toward the captain. 

''A curious collection of poulps?" I said. 

*' Yes, indeed, Mr. Naturalist," he replied; "and we 
are going to fight them, man to beast." 

I looked at him. I thought I had not heard aright. 

"Man to beast?" I repeated. 

"Yes, sir. The screw is stopped. I think that the 
horny jaw of one of the cuttle-fish is entangled in the 
blades. That is what prevents our moving." 

" What are you going to do?" 

" Rise to the surface, and slaughter this vermin." 

"A difficult enterprise." 

"Yes, indeed. The electric bullets are powerless 
against tiie soft flesh, where they do not find resistance 
enough to go off. But we shall attack them with the 

"And the harpoon, sir," said the Canadian, ** if you do 
not refuse my help." 

" I will accept it. Master Land." 

" We will follow you," I said; and following Captain 
Nemo, we went toward the central staircase. 

There, about ten men with boarding hatchets wer« 
ready for the attack. Conseil and I took two hatchets; 


NeJ Land seized a harpoon. TheXautilus had then risen 
to the surface. One of the sailors, posted on the top lad- 
der-step, unscrewed the bolts of the j)anels. But hardly 
were the screws loosed, when the panel rose with great 
violence, evidently drawn by the suckers of apoulp's arm. 
Immediately one of these arms slid like a serpent down 
the opening, and twenty others were above. With one 
\]ow of the ax. Captain Nemo cut this formidable tentacle 
that slid wriggling down the ladder. Just as we were 
pressing one on the other to reach the platform, two other 
arms, lashing the air, came down on the seaman placed 
before Captain Nemo, and lifted him up with irresistible 
power. Captain Nemo uttered a cry, and rushed out. We 
hurried after him. 

' What a scene! The unhappy man, seized by the tent- 
acle, and fixed to the suckers, was balanced in the air at 
the caprice of this enormous trunk. He rattled in his 
throat, he cried, "Help! help!" These words, spoken in 
French, startled me! I had a fellow-countryman on board, 
perhaps several! That heart rending cry! I shall hear it 
all my life. The unfortunate man was lost. Who could 
rescue him from that powerful pressure? However, Cap- 
tain Nemo, had rushed to the poulp, aqd with one blow 
of the ax had cut through one arm. His lieutenant 
struggled furiously against other monsters that crept on 
the flanks of the Nautilus. The crew fought with their 
axes. The Canadian, Conseil, and I buried our weapons 
in the fleshy masses; a strong smell of musk penetrated 
the atmosphere. It was horrible! 

For one instant I thought the unhappy man entangled 
with the poulp would be torn from its powerful suction. 
Seven of the eight arms had been cutoff. One only wrig- 
gled in the air, brandishing the victim like a feather. But 
just as Captain Nemo and his lieutenant threw themselves 
on it, the animal ejected a stream of black liquid. We 
were blinded with it. When the cloud dispersed, the 
cuttle-fish had disappeared, and my unfortunate country- 
man with it. Ten or twelve poulps now invaded the 
platform and sides of the Nautilus. We rolled pell-mell 
into the midst of this nest of serpents, that wriggled on 
the platform in the waves of blood and ink. It seemed as 
though these slimy tentacles sprang up like the hydra's 
heads. Ned Land's harpoon, at each stroke, was plunged 


into the staring eyes of the cuttle-fish. But my bold 
companion was suddenly overturned by the tentacles of 
a monster he had not been able to avoid. 

Ah! how my heart beat with emotion and horror! The 
formidable beak of a cuttle-fish was open over Ned Land, 
TJie unhappy man would be cut in two. I rushed to his 
succor. But Captain Nemo was before me; his ax dis- 
appeared between the two enormous jaws, and, miracu- 
lously saved, the Canadian, rising, plunged his harpoon 
deep into the triple heart of the poulp. 

"I owed myself this revenge!" said the captain to the 

Ned bowed without replying. The combat had lasted 
a quarter of an hour. The monsters, vanquished and 
mutilated, left us at last, and disappeared under the 
waves. Captain Nemo, covered with blood, nearly ex- 
hausted, gazed upon the sea that had swallowed up one 
of his companions, and great tears gathered in his eyes. 



This terrible scene of the 20th of April none of us can 
ever forget. I have written it nnder the influence of 
violent emotion. Since then I have revised the recital; I 
have read it to Conseil and to the Canadian. They found 
it exact as to facts, but insuflBcient as to effect. To paint 
such pictures, one must have the pen of the most illus- 
trious of our poets, the author of ''The Toilers of the 

I have said that Captain Nemo wept while watching 
the waves; his grief was great. It was the second com- 
panion he had lost since our arrival on board, and what a 
death! That friend, crushed, stifled, bruised by the 
dreadful arms of a poulp, pounded by his iron jaws, would 
not rest with his comrades in the peaceful coral cemetery! 
In the midst of this struggle, it was the despairing cry 
uttered by the unfortunate man that had torn my heart. 
The poor Frenchman, forgetting his conventional lan- 
guage, had taken to liis own mother tongue, to utter 9 


last appeal! Amongst the crew of the Nautilus, nssociated 
witli the body and soul of the captain, recoiling like him 
from all contact with men, I had a fellow-countryman. 
Did he alone represent France in this mysterious asso- 
ciation, evidently composed of individuals of divers 
nationalities? It was one of these insoluble problems that 
ros*e up unceasingly before my mind! 

Captain Nemo entered his room, and I saw him no more 
for some time. But that he was sad and irresolute I could 
see by the vessel, of which he was the soul, and which re- 
ceived all his impressions. The Nautilus did not keep on 
in its settled, course; it floated about like a corpse at the 
will of the waves. It went at random. He could not tear 
himself away from the scene of the last struggle, from this 
sea that had devoured one of his men. Ten days passed 
thus. It was not till the 1st of May that the Nautilus re- 
sumed its northerly course, after having sighted the Ba- 
hamas at the mouth of the Bahama Canal. We were then 
following the current from the largest river to the sea, that 
has its banks, its fish, and its proper temperatures. I mean 
the Gulf Stream. It is really a river, that flows freely to 
tiie middle of the Atlantic, and whose watejs do not mix 
with the ocean waters. It is a salt river, salter than the 
surrounding sea. Its mean depth is 1,500 fathoms, its 
mean breadth is ten miles. In certain places the current 
flows with the speed of two miles and a half an hour. The 
body of its waters is more considerable than that of all the 
rivers on the globe. It was on this ocean river that the 
Nautilus sailed. 

This current carries with it all kinds of living things. 
Argonauts, so common in the Mediterranean, were there in 
quantities. Of the grisly sort, the most remarkable were 
tlie turbot, whose slender tails form nearly the third part 
of the body, and that looked like large lozenges twenty- 
five feet long; also, small sharks a yard long, with large 
heads, short rounded muzzles, pointed teeth in several 
rows, and whose bodies seemed covered with scales. Among 
the bony fish I noticed some gray gobies, peculiar to these 
waters; black giltheads, whose iris shone like fire; sirens 
a yard long, with large snouts thickly set with little teeth, 
that uttered little cries; blue coryphsenes, in gold and sil- 
ver; parrots like the rainbows of the ocean, that could rival 
iii coloy the most beautiful tropical birds; blennies with 


triangular lieads; bluish rhombs destitute of scales; ba- 
trachoides covered with yellow triinsvcrsal bands like a 
Greek cross; heapsof little gobies spotted with yellow; dip- 
terodons with silvery heads and yellow tails; several speci- 
mens of salmon, mugilomores slender in shape, shining 
with a soft light that Laeepede concentrated to the service 
of his wife; and lastly, a beautiful fish, the American- 
knight, that, decorated with all the orders and ribbons, 
frequent the shores of this great nation, that esteems orders 
and ribbons so little. 

I must add that during the night the phosphorescent 
waters of the Gulf Stream rivaled the electric power of 
our watch-light, especially in the stormy weather that 
threatened us so frequently. May 8th we were still cross- 
ing Cape Hatteras, at the height of the North Caroline. 
The width of the Gulf Stream there is seventy-five miles, 
and its depth 210 yards. The Nautilus still went at ran- 
dom; all supervision seemed abandoned. I thought that 
under these circumstances, escape would be possible. In- 
deed, the inhabited shores offered anywhere an easy refuge. 
The sea was incessantly plowed by the steamers that ply 
between New York or Boston and the Gulf of Mexico, 
and overrun day and night by the little schooners coasting 
about the several parts of the American coast. We could 
hope to be picked up. It was a favorable opportunity, 
notwithstanding the thirty miles that separated the Nau- 
tilus from the coast of the Union. One unfortunate cir- 
cumstance thwarted the Canadian's plans. The weather 
was very bad. We were nearing those shores where 
tempests are so frequent — that country of waterspouts 
and cyclones actually engendered by the current of the 
Gulf Stream. To tempt the sea in a frail boat was certain 
destruction. Ned Land owned this himself. He fretted, 
seized with nostalgia that flight only could cure. 

''Master," he said that day to me, " this must come to 
an end. I must make a clean breast of it. This Nemo 
is leaving land and going up to the north. But I declare 
to you I have had enough of the South Pole, and I will 
not folloAv him to the North." 

" What is to be done, Ned, since flight is impracticable 
just now?" 

*' We must speak to the captain," said he; *'you said 
Dothing when jou were in your native seas. I will speak. 


now we are in mine. When I think that before long the 
Nautilus will be by Nova Scotia, and that there near 
Newfoundland is a large bay, and into that bay the St. 
Lawrence empties itself, and that the St. Lawrence is my 
river, the river by Quebec, my native town — when I think 
of this I feel furious; it makes my hair stand on end. 
Sir, I would rather throw myself into the sea! I will not 
stay here! I am stifled!" 

The Canadian was evidently losing all patience. His 
vigorous nature could not stand this prolonged imprison- 
ment. His face altered daily; his temper became more 
surly. I knew wliat he must suffer, for I was seized with 
nostalgia myself- Nearly seven months had passed with- 
out our having had any news from land; Captain Nemo's 
isolation, his altered spirits, especially since the fight 
with the poulps, his taciturnity, all made me view things 
in a different light. 

"Well, sir?" said Ned, seeing I did not reply. 

'* Well, Ned, do you wish me to ask Captain Nemo his 
intentions concerning us?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Although he has ali'eady made them known?" 

"Yes; I wish it settled finally. Speak for me, in my 
name only, if you like." 

"But I so seldom meet him. He avoids me." 

" That is all the more reason for you to go to see him." 

I went to my room. From thence I meant to go to 
Captain Nemo's. It would not do to let this opportunity 
of meeting him slip. I knocked at the door. No answer. 
I knocked again, then turned the handle. The door 
opened, I went it. The captain was there. Bending over 
his work-table, he had not heard me. Resolved not to go 
without having spoken, I approached him. He raised his 
head quickly, frowned, and said, roughly, " You here! 
What do you want?" 

" To speak to you, captain." 

" But I am busy, sir; I am working. I leave you at 
liberty to shut yourself up; can not I be allowed the same?" 

This reception was not encouraging; but I was determined 
to hear and answer everything. 

" Sir," I said coolly, " I have to speak to you on a mat- 
ter that admits of no delay." 

"What is Jhat, sir?" "he replied, ironically. "Haw 

270 20,000 LEAGUES ukdeh the seas. 

you discovered something that has escaped me, or has the 
sea delivered up any new secrets?" 

We were at cross purposes. But before I could reply, 
he showed me an open manuscript on liis table, and said, 
in a more serious tone, " Here, M. Aronnax, is a manu- 
script written in several languages. It contains the sum 
of my studies of the sea; and, if it please God, it shall 
not perish with me. This manuscript, signed with my 
name, completed with the history of my life, will be sliut 
up in a little insubmersible case. The last survivor of all 
of us on board the Nautilus will throw this case into the 
sea, and it will go whither it is borne by the waves.'* 

This man's name! his history written by himself! His 
mystery would then be revealed some day. 

*' Captain," I said, *' I can but approve of the idea 
that makes you act thus. The result of your studies must 
not be lost. But the means you employ seem to me to be 
primitive. Who knows where the winds will carry this 
case, and in whose hands it will fall? Could you not use 
some other means? Could not you, or one of yours " 

"Never, sir!" he said, hastily interrupting me. 

"But I and my companions are ready to keep this 
manuscript in store; and, if you will put us at liberty '* 

"At liberty?" said the captain, rising. 

** Yes, sir; that is the subject on which I wished to 
question you. For seven months we have been here on 
board, and I ask you to-day, in the name of my compan- 
ions, and in my own, if your intention is to keep*us here 

"M. Aronnax, I will answer you to-day as I did seven 
months ago; whoever enters the Nautilus must never quit 

" You impose actual slavery on us!" 

" Give it what name you please." 

" But everywhere the slave has the right to regain hia 

" Who denies you this right? Have I ever tried to 
chain you with an oath?" 

He looked at me with his arms crossed. 

**Sir," I said, **to return a second time to this subject 
will be neither to your nor to my taste; but as we have 
entered upon it, let us go through with it. I repeat, it is 


not only myself whom it concerns. Study is tomea relief, 
a diversion, a passion that could make me forget every- 
thing. Like you, I am willing to live obscure in the frail 
hope of bequeathing one day, to future time, the result of 
my labors. But it is otherwise with Ned Land. Every 
man, T^f^rthy of the name, deserves some consideration. 
Have you thought that love of liberty, hatred of slavery, 
can give rise to schemes of revenge in a nature like the 
Canadian's; that he could think, attempt, and try " 

I was silenced; Captain Nemo rose. 

" Whatever Ned Land thinks of, attempts, or tries, what 
does it matter to me? I did not seek him! It is not for 
my pleasure that I keep him on board! As for you, M. 
Aronnax, you are one of th^se who can understand every- 
thing, even silence. I have nothing more to say to you. 
Let this first time you have come to treat of this subject 
be the last; for a second timfe I will not listen to you." 

I retired. Our situation was critical. I related my con- 
versation to my two companions. 

" We know now," said Ned, " that we can expect noth- 
ing from this man. The Nautilus is nearing Long Island. 
We will escape, Avhatever the weather may be." 

But the sky became more and more threatening. Symp- 
toms of a hurricane became manifest. The atnlosphere 
was becoming white and misty. On the horizon fine 
streaks of cirrous clouds were succeeded by masses of 
cumuli. Other low clouds passed swiftly by. The swollen 
sea rose in huge billows. The birds disappeared, with the 
exception of the petrels, those friends of the storm. The 
barometer fell sensibly, and indicated an extreme tension 
of the vapors. The mixture of the storm-glass was de- 
composed under the influence of the electricity that per- 
vaded the atmosphere. The tempest burst on the 18th of 
May, just as the Nautilus was floating off Long Island, some 
miles from the port of New York. I can describe this strife 
of the elements! for, instead of fleeing to the depths of 
the sea, Captain Nemo, by an unaccountable caprice, 
would brave it at the surface. The wind blew from 
the southwest at first. Captain Nemo, during the 
squalls, had taken his place on the platform. He had 
made himself fast, to prevent being washed overboard by 
the monstrous waves. I had hoisted myself up, and made 
myself fast also, dividing my admiration between the 

27:i 20,000 leagues u^hDEi* the seas. 

tempest and this extraordinary man who was coping with 
it. The raging sea was swept by huge cloud-drifts, which 
were actually saturated with the waves. The Nautilus, 
sometimes lying on its side, sometimes standing up like a 
mast, rolled and pitched terribly. About five o'clock a 
torrent of rain fell, that lulled neither sea nor wind. The 
hurricane blew nearly forty leagues an hour. It is under 
these conditions that it overturns houses, breaks iron gates, 
displaces twenty-fonr pounders. However, the Nautilus, 
in the midst of the tempest, confirmed the words of a 
clover engineer: " There is no well-constructed hull that 
cannot defy the sea." This was not a resisting rock; it 
was a steel spindle obedient and movable, without rigging 
or masts, that braved its fury with impunity. However, 
I watched these raging waves attentively. They measured 
fifteen feet in height, and 150 to 170 yards long, and their 
speed of propagation was thirty feet per second. Their 
bulk and power increased with the depth of the water. 
Such waves as these at the Hebrides have displaced a 
mass weighing 8,400 lbs, Tiiey are they which, in the 
tempest of December 23, 1864, after destroying the town 
of Yeddo, in Japan, broke the same day on the shores of 
America. The intensity of the tempest increased with the 
night. The barometer, as in 1860, at Eeunion, during a 
cyclone, fell seven-tenths at the close of day. I saw a large 
vessel pass the horizon, struggling painfully. She was try- 
ing to lay to under half-steam, to keep up above the waves. 
It was probably one of the steamers of the line from New 
York to Liverpool or Havre. It soon disappeared in the 
gloom. At ten o'clock in the evening the sky was on fire. 
The atmosphere was streaked with vivid lightning. I 
conld not bear the brightness of it; while the captain, 
looking at it, seemed to envy th^ spirit of the tempest. 
A terrible noise filled the air, a complex noise, made 
up of the howls of the oi'ushed waves, the roaring 
of the wind, and the claps of thunder. The wind veered 
suddenly to all points of the horizon; and the cyclone, 
rising in the east, returned after passing by the north, 
west and south, in the inverse course pursued by the cir- 
cular storms of the southern hemisphere. Ah, the Gulf 
Stream! It deserves its name of the King of Tempests. It 
is that which causes those formidable cyclones, by the 
d'fference of temperature betw een its air and its currents. 


A shower of fire had succeeded the rain. The drops of 
water were changed to sharp spikes. One would "have 
thought that Captain Nemo was courting a death worthy 
of himself, a death by lightning. As the Nautilus, pitch- 
ing dreadfully, raised its steel spur in the air, it seemed 
to act as a conductor, and I saw long sparks burst from it. 
Crushed and without strength, I crawled to the panel, 
opened it, and descended to the saloon. The storm was 
then at its height. It was impossible to stand upright in 
the interior of the Nautilus. Captain Nemo came down 
about twelve. I heard the reservoirs filling by degrees, 
and the Nautilus sank slowly beneath t-he waves. Through 
the open windows of the saloon I saw large fish, terrified, 
passing like phantoms in the water. Some were struck 
before my eyes. The Nautilus was still descending. I 
thought that about eight fathoms deep we should find a 
calm. But no! the upper beds were too violently agi- 
tated for that. We had to seek repose at more than twenty- 
five fathoms in the bowels of tke deep. But there, what 
quiet, what silence, what peace! Who could have told that 
such a hurricane had been let loose on the surface of the 



In consequence of the storm, we had been thrown east- 
ward once more. All hope of escape on the shores of 
New York or St. Lawrence had faded away; and poor 
Ned, in despair, had isolated himself like Captain Nemo. 
Conseil and I, however, never left each other. I said that 
the Nautilus had gone aside to the east. I should have 
said (to be more exact), the northeast. For some days it 
wandered, first on the surface, and then beneath it, amid 
those fogs so dreaded by sailors. What accidents are due 
to these thick fogs! What shocks upon these reefs when 
the wind drowns the breaking of the waves! What collis- 
ions between vessels, in spite of their warning lights, 
whistles, and alarm-bells! And the bottoms of these seag 
look like a field of battle, where still lie all the conquered 
of the ocean; some old and already incrusted, others fresh 


unci reflecting from their iron bands and copper plates the 
brilliancy of our lantern. 

Ou the 15th of May we W3re at the extreme south of 
the Bank of Newfoundland. This bank consists of 
alluvia, or large heaps of organic matter, brought either 
from the equator by the Gulf Stream, or from the North 
Pole by the counter-current of cold water which skirts the 
American coast. There a?so are heaped up those erratic 
blocks which are carried along by the broken ice; and 
close by a vast charnel-house of mollusks or zoophytes, 
which perish here by millions. The depth of the sea is not 
great at Newfoundland — not more than some hundreds of 
fathoms; but toward f^e mouth is a depression of 1,500 
fathoms. There the Gulf Stream widens. It loses some 
of its speed and some of its temperature, but it becomes a 

It was on the 17th of May, about 500 miles from 
Heart's Content, at a depth of more than 1,400 fathoms, 
that I saw the electric cable lying on the bottom. Con- 
seil, to whom I had not mentioned it, thought at first that 
it was a gigantic sea-serpent. But I undeceived the 
worthy fellow, and by way of consolation related several 
particulars in the laying of this cable. The first one was 
laid in the years 1857 and 1858, but, after transmitting 
about 400 telegrams, would not act any longer. In 1863, 
the engineers constructed another one, measuring 2,000 
miles in length, and weighing 4,500 tons^, which was 
embarked ou the Great Eastern, This attempt also 

On the 25th of May, the Nautilus being at a depth of 
more than 1,918 fathoms, was on the precise spot where 
t!^e rupture occurred which ruined the enteri)rise. It 
was within 638 miles of the coast of Ireland; and at half- 
past two in the afternoon they discovered that communi- 
cation with Europe had ceased. The electricians on board 
resolved to cut the cable before fishing it up, and at eleven 
o'clock at night they had recovered the damaged part. 
They made another point and spliced it, and it was once 
more submerged. But some days after it broke again, 
and in the depths of the ocean could not be recaptured. 
The Americans, however, were not discouraged. Cyrus 
Field, the bold promoter of the enterprise, as he had sunk 
ftlihis own fortune, set a new subscription on foot, whicb 


was at once answered, and another cable was constructed 
on better principles. The bundles of conducting wires 
were each enveloped in gutta-percha, and protected by a 
wadding of hemp, cortained in a metallic covering. The 
Great Eastern sailed on the 13th of July, lb66. The 
operation worked well. But one incident occurred. 
Several times in unrolling the cable they observed that 
nails had been recently forced into it, evidently with tiie 
motive of destroying it. Captain Anderson, the oflBcers 
and engineers, consulted together, and had it posted up 
that if the offender was surprised on board, he would be 
thrown without further trial into the sea. From that 
time the criminal attempt was never repeated. 

On the 23d of July the Great Eastern was not more than 
500 miles from Newfoundland, when they telegraphed 
from Ireland news of the armistice Cv>ncluded between 
Prussia and Austria, after Sadowa. On the 27th, in the 
midst of heavy fogs, they reached the port of Heart's Con- 
tent. The enterprise was successfully terminated; and 
for its first dispatch young America addressed old Europe 
in these words of wisdom so rarely understood: " Glory 
to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to- 
ward men." 

I did not expect to find the electric cable in its primitive 
state, such as it was on leaving the manufactory. The long 
serpent, covered with the remains of shells, bristling witli 
foraminifei^ae, was incrusted with a strong coating which 
served as a protection against all boring mollusks. It lay 
quietly sheltered from the motions of the sea, and under a 
favorable pressure for the transmission of the electric 
spark which passes from Europe to America in .32 of a 
second. Doubtless this cable will last for a great length 
of time, for they find that the gutta-percha covering is 
improved by the sea-water. Besides, on this level, so well 
chosen, the cable is never so deeply submerged as to cause 
it to break. The Nautilus followed it to the lowest depth, 
which was more than 2,212 fathoms, and there it lay with- 
out any anchorage, and then we reached the spot where 
the accident had taken place in 1863. The bottom of the 
ocean then formed a valley about 100 miles broad, in wliich 
Mont-Blanc might have been placed without its summit ap- 
pearing above the waves. This valley is closed at the east 
by a perpendicular wall more than 2,000 yards high. We 


arrived there on the 28th of May, and the Nautilus wai 
then not more than 130 miles from Ireland. 

Was Captain Nemo going to land on the British Isles? 
No. To my great surprise he made for the south, once more 
coming back toward European seas. In rounding the 
Emerald Isle, for one instant I caught sigiitof Cape Clear, 
and the light which guides the thousands of vessels leaving 
Glasgow or Liverpool. An important question then arose 
in my mind. Did the Nautilus dare entangle itself in the 
Mauch? Ned Land, who had reappeared since we had 
been nearing land, did not cease to question me. How 
could I answer? Captain Nemo remained invisible. After 
having shown the Canadian a glimpse of American shores, 
was he going to show me the coast of France? 

But the Nautilus was still going southward. On the 
30th of May, 'it passed in sight of the Land's End, be- 
tween the extreme point of England and the Scilly Isles, 
which were left to starboard. If he wished to enter the 
Mauch he must go straight to the east. He did not do so. 

During the whole of the 31st of May, che Nautilus de- 
scribed a series of circles on the water, which greatly in- 
terested me. It seemed to be seeking a spot it had some 
trouble in finding. At noon. Captain Nemo himself came 
to work the ship's log. He spoke no word to me, but 
seemed gloomier than ever. What could sadden him thus? 

Was it its proximity to European shores? Had h^ some 
recollections of his abandoned country? If not, what did 
he feel? Remorse or regret? For a long while this thought 
haunted my mind, and I had a kind of presentiment that 
before long chance would betray the captain's secrets. 

The next day, the 1st of June, the Nautilus continued the 
same process. It was evidently seeking some particular 
spot in the ocean. Captain Nemo took the sun's altitude as 
he had done the day before. The sea was beautiful, the sky 
clear. About eight miles to the east, a large steam-vessel 
could be discerned on the horizon. No flag fluttered from 
its mast, and I could not discover its nationality. Some 
minutes before the sun passed the meridian, Captain Nemo 
took his sextant, and watched with great attention. The 
perfect rest of the water greatly helped the operation. The 
Nautilus was motionless; it neither rolled nor pitched. 

I was on the platform when the altitude was taken, and 
the caR<;ain pronounced these words: **It is here," 


He turned and went below. Had he seen the vessel 
which was changing its coarse and seemed to be nearing 
us? I could not tell. I returned to the saloon. The 
panels closed, I heard the hissing of the water in the 
reservoirs. The Nautilus began to sink, following a 
vertical line, for its screw communicated no motion to it. 
Some minutes later it stopped at a depth of more than 
420 fathoms, resting on the ground. The luminous ceil- 
ing was darkened, then the panels were opened, and 
through the glass I saw the sea brilliantly illuminated by 
rays of our lantern for at least half a mile round us. 

I looked to the port side, and saw nothing but an im- 
mensity of quiet waters. But to starboard, on the bottom 
appeared a large protuberance, which at once attracted my 
attention. One would have thought it a ruin buried 
under a coating of white shells, much resembling a cover- 
ing of snow. Upon examining the mass attentively, I 
could recognize the ever-thickening form of a vessel bare 
of its masts, which must have sunk. It certainly belonged 
to past times. This wreck, to be thus incrusted with the 
lime of the water, must already be able to count many 
years at the. bottom of the ocean. 

What was this vessel? Why did the Nautilus visit its 
tomb? Could it have been aught but a shipwreck which 
had drawn it under the water? I knew not what to 
think, when near me in a slow voice I heard Captain 
Nemo say: 

** At one time this ship was called the Marseillais. It 
carried seventy-four guns, and was launched in 1752. In 
1778, the 13th of August, commanded by La Poype- 
Vertrieux, it fought badly against the Preston. In 1779, 
on the 4th of July, it was at the taking of Grenada with 
the squadron of Admiral Estaing. In 1781, on the 5th of 
September, it took part in the battle of Comte de Grasse, 
in Chesapeake Bay. In 1794, the French Eepublic changed 
its name. On the 16th of April, in the satne 'year, it 
Joined the squadron of Villaret Joyeuse, at Brest, being 
intrusted with the escort of a cargo of corn coming from 
America, under the command of Admiral Van Stabel. On 
the 11th and 12th Prairal of the second year, this squadron 
fell in with an English vessel. Sir, to-day is the 13th 
Prairal, the 1st of June, 1868. It is now seventy-four 
years ago, day for day on this very spot, in latitute 4?* 


24', longitude 17° 28', that this vessel, after fighting heroic- 
ally, losing its three masts, with the water in its hold, 
and the third of its crew disabled, preferred sinking with 
its 356 sailors to surrendering; and nailing its colors to 
the poop, disappeared under the waves to the cry of ' Long 
live the Republic?'" 

** The Avenger!"' I exclaimed. 

'*Yes, sir, the Avenger! A good name!" muttered 
Captain Nemo, crossing his arms. 




The way of describing this unlooked-for scene, the his- 
tory of the patriot ship, told at first so coldly, and the 
emotion with which this strange man pronounced the last 
words, the name of the Avenger, the significance of which 
could not escape me, all impressed itself deeply on my 
mind. My eyes did not leave the captain; who, with his 
hand stretched out to sea, was watching with a glowing 
eye the glorious wreck. Perhaps I was never to know who 
he was, from whence he came, or where we was going to, 
but I «aw the man move, and apart from the savant. It 
■was no common misanthropy which had shut Captain 
Nemo and his companions within the Nautilus, but a 
hatred, either monstrous or sublime, which time could never 
weaken. Did this hatred still seek for vengeance? The 
future would soon teach me that. But the Nautilus was 
rising slowly to the surface of the sea, and the form of the 
Avenger disappeared by degrees from my sight. Soon a 
slight rolling told me we were in the open air. At that 
moment a dull boom was heard. I looked at the captain. 
He did not move, 

"Captain?" said I. 

He did not answer. I left him and mounted the plat- 
form. Conseil and the Canadian were already there. 

" Where did that sound come from?" I asked. 

*'It was a gunshot," replied Ned Land. 

I looked in the direction of the vessel I had already seei^. 


It was nearing the Nautilus, and wo could see that it was 
putting on steam. It was within six miles of us. 

'' What is that ship, Ned?" 

*•' By its rigging, and the height of its lower masts," said 
the Canadian, " I bet she is a ship of war. May it reach 
us; and, if necessary, sink the cursed Nautilus." 

" Friend Ned," replied Conseil, " what harm can it do 
to the Nautilus? Can it attack it beneath the waves? 
Can it cannonade us at the bottom of the sea?" 

"Tell me, Ned," said I, "can you recognize what 
country she belongs to?" 

The Canadian knitted his eyebrows, dropped his eyelids, 
and screwed up the corners of his eyes, and for a few 
moments fixed a piercing look upon the vessel. 

"No, sir." he replied; "I cannot tell what nation she 
belongs to, for she shows no colors. But I can declare 
she is a man-of-war, for a long pennant flutters from her 

For a quarter of an hour we watched the ship which 
was steaming toward us. I could not, however, believe 
.that she could see the Nautilus from that distance, and 
still less that she could know what this submarine engine 
was. Soon the Canadian informed mo that she was a 
large armored two-decker ram. A thick black smoke was 
pouring from her two funnels. iHer closely furled sails 
were stopped to her yards. She hoisted no flag at her 
mizzen-peak. The distance prevented us from distinguish- 
the colors of her pennant, which floated like a thin ribbon. 
She advanced rapidly. If Captain Nemo allowed her to 
approach, there was a chance of salvation for us. 

" Sir," said Ned Land, " if that vessel passes within a 
mile of us, I shall throw myself into the sea, and I should 
advise you to do the same." 

I did not reply to the Canadian's suggestion, but con- 
tinued watching the ship. Whether English, French, 
American or Russian, she would be sure to take us in if 
we could only reach her. Presently a v/hite smoke burst 
from the forepart of the vessel; some seconds after the 
water, agitated by the fall of a heavy body, splashed the 
stern of the Nautilus, and shortly afterward a loud explo- 
sion struck my ear. 

" WhatI they are firing at us!" I exclaimed. 


" So please you, sir," said Ned, " tliey have recognized 
the unicorn, and they are firing at us." 

"But," I exclaimed, " surely they can see that there are 
men in the case?" 

" It is, perhaps, because of that," replied Ned Land, 
looking at me. 

A whole flood of light burst upon my mind. Doubtless 
they knew now how to believe the stories of the pretended 
monster. No doubt, on board the Abraham Lincoln, when 
the Canadian struck it with the harpoon, Commander 
Farragut had recognized in the supposed narwhal a sub- 
marine vessel, more dangerous than a supernatural ceta- 
cean. Yes, it must have been so, and on every sea they 
were now seeking this engine of destruction. Terrible 
indeed! if, as we supposed, Captain Nemo employed the 
Nautilus in works of vengeance. On the night when we 
were imprisoned in that cell, in the midst of the Indian 
Ocean, had he not attacked some vessel? The man buried 
in the coral cemetery, had he not been a victim to the 
shock caused by the Nautilus? Yes, I repeat it: it must 
be so. One part of the mysterious existence of Captain 
Nemo had been unveiled; and, if his identity had not 
been recognized, at least the nations united against him 
were no longer hunting a chimerical creature, but a man 
who had vowed a deadly hatred against them. All the 
formidable past rose before me. Instead of meeting friends 
on board the approaching ship, we could only expect piti- 
less enemies. 15ut the shot rattled about us. Some of 
them struck the sea and ricochetted, losing themselves in 
tiie distance. But none touched the Nautilus. The ves- 
sel was not more than three miles from us. In spite of 
the serious cannonade, Captain Nemo did not appear on 
the platform; but, if one of the conical projectiles had 
struck the sliell of the Nautilus, it would have been fatal. 
The Canadian then said, " Sir, we must do all we can to 
get out of this dilemma. Let us signal them. They will 
then, perhaps, understand that we are honest folks." 

Ned Land took his handkerchief to wave in the air, but 
he had scarcely displayed it when he was struck down by 
an iron hand, and fell, in spite of his great strength, upon 
♦he deck. 

**FoolI" exclaimed the captain, "do your wish to be 

20,000 LEAGUES UJS'nEll TUE SEAS, 281 

pierced by tlie spur of tlie Nautilus before it is hurled at 
this vessel?" 

Captain Nemo was terrible to hear; he was still more 
terrible to see. His face was deadly pale with a spasm 
at his heart. For an instant it must have ceased to 
beat. H^is pupils were fearfully contracted. He did not 
»peak, he roared, as, with his body thrown forward, he 
wrung the Canadian's shoulders. Then, leaving him, 
and turning to the ship of war, whose shot was still rain- 
ing around him, he exclaimed with apoweful voice, '' Ah, 
ship of an accursed nation, you know who I am! I do noi 
want your colors to know you by! Look! and I will show 
you mine!" 

And on the forepart of the platform Captain Nemo 
unfurled a black flag, similar to the one he had placed at 
the South pole. At that moment a shot struck the shell 
of the Nautilus obliquely, without piercing it: and re- 
bounding near the captain, was lost in the sea. He 
shrugged his shoulders; and addressing me, said shortly, 
" Go down, you, and your companions, go down!" 

"Sir," I exclaimed, "are you going to attack this 

"Sir, I am going to sink it." 

" You will not do that!" 

" I shall do it," he replied, coldly. " And I advise 
you not to judge me, sir. Fate has shown you what 
you ought not to have seen. The attack has begun; go 

" What is this vessel?" 

" You do not know? Very well! so much the better! 
its nationality to you, at least, will be a secret. Go 

We could but obey. About fifteen of the sailors sur- 
rounded the captain, looking with implacable hatred at 
the vessel nearing them. One could feel that the same 
desire of vengeance animated every soul. I went down at 
the moment another projectile struck the Nautilus, and I 
heard the captain exclaim: 

"Strike, mad vessel! Shower your useless shot! And 
then, you will not escape the spur of the Nautilus. But 
it is not here that you shall perish! I would not have 
your ruins mingle with those of the Avenger!" 


I reached my room. The captain and his second had 
remained on the platform. The screw was set in motion, 
and the Nautilus, moving with speed, was soon beyond 
the reach of the ship's guns. But the pursuit continued, 
and Captain Nemo contented himself with keeping his 

About four in the afternoon, being no longer able to 
contain my impatience, I went to the central staircase. 
The panel was open, and I ventured on to the platform. 
The captain was still walking up and down with an agi- 
tated step. He was looking at the ship, which was five or 
six miles to leeward. 

He was going round it like a wild beast, and drawing 
eastward, he allowed them to pursue. But he did not at- 
tack. Perhaps he still hesitated? I wished to mediate 
once more. But I had scarcely spoken, when Captain 
Nemo imposed silence, saying: 

*' I am the law, and I am the judge! I am the oppressed, 
and there is the oppressor! Through him I have lost all 
that I loved, cherished, and venerated — country, wife, 
children, father, and mother. I saw all perish! All that 
I hate is there! Say no more!" 

I cast a last look at the man-of-war which was putting 
on steam, and rejoined Ned and Conseil. 

" We will flv!" I exclaimed. 

" Good !" said Ned. " What is this vessel ?" 

**I do not know; but whatever it is, it will be sunk be- 
fore night. In any case, it is better to perish with it, 
than be made accomplices in a retaliation, the justice of 
which we cannot judge." 

" That is my opinion too," said Ned Land, coolly. 
*' Let us wait for night." 

Night arrived. Deep silence reigned on board. The 
compass showed that the Nautilus had not altered its 
course. It was on the surface, rolling slightly. My 
companions and I resolved to . fly when the vessel should 
be near enough to hear us or to see us; for the moon, 
which would be full in two or three days, shone brightly. 
Once on board the ship, if we could not prevent the blow 
which threatened it, we could, at least we would, do all 
that circumstances would allow. Several times I thought 
the Nautilus was preparing for attack; but Captain Nemo 


contented himself with allowing his adversary to approach^ 
and then fled once more before it. 

Part of the night passed without any incident. We 
watched the opportunity for action. We spoke little, for 
we were too much moved. Ned Land would have thrown 
himself/into the sea, but I forced him to wait. According 
to my idea, the Nautilus would attack the ship at her 
water-line, and then it would not only be possible, but 
easy to fly. 

At three in the morning, full of uneasiness, I mounted 
the platform. Captain Nemo had not left it. He was 
standing at the forepart near his flag, which a slight 
breeze displayed above his head. He did not take his 
eyes from the vessel. The intensity of his look seemed to 
attract, and fascinate, and draw it onward more surely 
than if he had been towing it. The moon was then pass- 
ing the meridian. Jupiter was rising in the east. Amid 
this peaceful scene of nature, sky and ocean rivaled each 
other in tranquillity, the sea offering to the orbs of night 
the finest mirror they could ever have in which to reflect 
their image. As I thought of the deep calm of these ele- 
ments, compared with all those passions brooding im- 
perceptibly within the Nautilus, I shuddered. 

The vessel was within two miles of us. It was ever 
nearing that phosphorescent light which showed the pres- 
ence of the Nautilus. I could see its green and red lights, 
and its white lantern hanging from the large mizzen-mast. 
An indistinct vibration quivered through its rigging, show- 
ing that the furnaces were heated to the uttermost. Sheaves 
of sparks and red ashes flew from the funnels, shining in 
the atmosphere like stars. 

I remained thus until six in the morning, without Cap- 
tain Nemo noticing me. The ship stood about a mile and 
a half from us, and with the first dawn of day the firing 
began afresh. The moment could not be far off when, 
the Nautilus attacking its adversary, my companions and 
myself should forever leave this man. I was preparing 
to go down to remind them, when the second mounted the 
platform, accompanied by several sailors. Captain Nemo 
either did not or would not see them. Some steps were 
taken which might be called the signal for action. They 
were very simple. The iron balustrade around the plat- 
form was lowered, and the lantern and pilot-cages were 


pushed within the shell until they wore flush wiili the 
deck. The long surface of the steel cigar no longer offered 
a single point to check its maneuvers. I returned to the 
saloon. The Nautilus still floated; some streaks of light 
were filtering through the liquid beds. With the undula- 
tions of the waves the windows were brightened by the red 
streaks of the rising sun, and this dreadful day of the 2d 
of June had dawned. 

At five o'clock, the log showed that the speed of the 
Nautilus was slackening, and I knew that it was allowing 
them to draw nearer. Besides, the reports were heard 
more distinctly, and the projectiles, laboring through the 
ambient water, were extinguished with a strange hissing 

" My friends," said I, " the moment is come. One grasp 
of the hand, ajid may God protect us!" 

Ned Land was resolute, Conseil calm, myself so nervous 
that I knew not how to contain myself. We all passed 
into the library; but the moment I pushed the door open- 
ing on to the central staircase, I heard the upper panel 
close sharply. The Canadian rushed on to the stairs, but 
I stopped him! A well-known hissing noise told me that 
the water was running into the reservoirs, and in a few 
minutes the Nautilus was some yards beneath the surface 
of the water. I understood the maneuver. It was too 
late to act. The Nautilus did not wish to strike at tlie 
impenetrable cuirass, but below the water-line, where the 
metallic covering no longer protected it. 

We were again imprisoned, unwilling witnesses of the 
dreadful drama that was preparing. We had scarcely 
time to reflect; taking refuge in my room, we looked at 
each other without speaking. A deep stupor had taken 
hold of my mind; thought seemed to stand still. I was 
in that painful state of expectation preceding a dreadful 
report. I waited, I listened, every sense was merged in 
that of hearing! The speed of the Nautilus was acceler- 
ated. It was preparing to rush. The whole ship 
trembled. Suddenly I screamed. I felt the shock but 
comparatively light. I felt the penetrating power of the 
steel spur. I heard rattlings and scrapings. But the 
Nautilus, carried along by its propelling power, passed 
through the mass of the yessel, like a needle passing 
thi'ough sail-cloth. 


I could stand it no longer. Mad, out of my mind, I 
ruihed from my room into the saloon. Captain Nemo 
was ther<?, mute, gloomy, implacable; ho was looking 
through the port-panel. A large mass east a shadow on 
the water, and that it might lose nothing of her agony, 
the Nautilus was going down into the abyss with her. 
Ten yards from me I saw the open shell through which the 
water was rushing with the noise of thunder, then the 
double line of guns and the netting. The bridge was 
covered with black, agitated shadows. 

The water was rising. The poor creatures were crowd- 
ing the ratlings, clinging to the masts, struggling under 
the water. It was a human ant-heap overtaken by tha 
sea. Paralyzed, stiffened with anguish, my hair standing 
on end, with eyes wide open, panting, without breath and 
without voice, I too was watching! An irresistible at- 
traction glued me to the glass! Suddenly an explosion 
took place. The compressed air blew up ])er decks, as if 
the magazine had caught fire. Then the unfortunate 
vessel sunk more rapidly. Her topmast, laden with vic- 
tims, now appeared; then her spars, bending under the 
weight of men; and last of all, the top of her mainmast. 
Then the dark mass disappeared, and with it the dead 
crew, drawn down by the strong eddy. 

I turned to Captain Nemo. That terrible avenger, a 
perfect archangel of hatred, was still looking. When all 
was over, he turned to his room, opened the door, and 
entered. I followed him with my eyes. On the end wall 
beneath his heroes, 1 saw the portrait of a woman still 
young, and two little children. Captan Nemo looked at 
them for some moments, stretched liis arms toward them, 
««,nd kneeling down burst into deep sobs. 



The panels had closed on this dreadful vision, but 
light had not returned to the saloon: all was silence and 
darkness within the Nautilus. At wonderful speed, a 
hundred feet beneath the water, it was leaving this deso- 


late spot. Wliither was it going? To the north or south? 
Where was the man flying to after such dreadful retalia- 
tion? I had returned to ray room, where Ned and Oon- 
seil 'had remained silent enough. I felt an insurmounta- 
ble horror for Captain Nemo. Whatever he had suffered 
it the hands of these men, he had no right to punish 
thus. He had made me, if not an accomplice, at least a 
witness of his vengeance. At eleven the electric light re- 
appeared. I passed into the saloon. It was deserted. I 
consulted the different instruments. The Nautilus was 
flying northward at the rate of twenty-five miles an hour, 
now on the surface, and now thirty feet below it. On 
taking the bearings by the chart, I saw that we were 
passing the mouth of the Manche, and that our course 
was hurrying us toward the northern seas at a frightful 
Bpeed. That night we had crossed two hundred leagues 
of the Atlantic. The shadows fell, and the sea was 
covered with darkness until the rising of the moon. I 
went to my room, but could not sleep. I was troubled 
with dreadful night-mare. The horrible scene of de- 
struction was continually before my eyes. From that 
day, who could tell into what part of the North Atlantic 
basin the Nautilus would take us? Still with unac- 
countable speed. Still in the midst of these northern 
fogs. Would it touch at Spitzbergen, or on the shores 
of Nova Zembla? Should we explore those unknown seas 
— the White Sea, the Sea of Kara, the Gulf of Obi, the 
Archipelago of Liarrow, and the unknown coast of Asia? 
I could not say. I could no longer judge of the time that 
was passing. The clocks had been stopped on board. It 
seemed, as in polar countries, that night and day no longer 
followed their regular course. I felt myself being drawn 
into that strange region where the foundered imagination 
of Edgar Poe roamed at will. Like the fabulous Gordon 
Pym, at every moment I expected to see " that veiled 
human figure, of larger proportions than those of any in- 
habitant of the earth, thrown across the cataract which 
defends the approach to the pole." I estimated (though, 
perhaps, I may be mistaken) — I estimated this adventur- 
ous course of the Nautilus to have lasted fifteen or twenty 

And I know not how much longer it might have 
lasted, had it not been for the catastrophe which ended 


this voyage. Of Captain Nemo I saw nothing whatever 
now, nor of his second. Not a man of the crew was visi- 
ble for an instant. The Nautilus was almost incessantly 
under water. When we came to the surface to renew the 
air tlie panels op^n(^ and sluit mechanically. There were 
no more marks 6n the planisphere. I knew not where we 
were. And the Canadian, too, his strength and patience 
at an end, appeared no more. Conseil could not draw a 
word from him, and fearing that, in a dreadful fit of mad- 
ness, he might kill himself, watched him with constant 
devotion. One morning (what date it was I could not say) 
I had fallen into a heavy sleep toward the early hours, a 
sleep both gainful and unhealthy, when I suddenly awoke. 
Ned Land was loiining over me, saying in a low voice, 
** We aj'e going to fly." 

I sat up. 

" When shall we go?" I asked. 

*' To-morrow night. All inspection on board the Nau- 
tilus seems to have ceased. All appear to be stupefied. 
Yon will be ready, sir?" 

"Yes; where are we?" 

" In sight of land. I took the reckoning this morning 
in the fog — twenty miles to the east." 

"What country is it?" 

" I do not know; but whatever it is, we will take refuge 

" Yes, Ned, yes. We will fly to-night, even if the sea 
should swallow us up." 

*' The sea 'fs ba-^, the wind violent, but twenty miles in 
that light boat of the Nautilus does not frighten me. 
Unknown to the crew, I have been able to procure food 
and some bottles of water." 

" I will follow you." 

" But," continued the Canadian, " if I am surprised I 
will defend myself; I will force them to kill me." 

" We will die together, friend Ned." 

I had made up my mind to all. The Canadian left me. 
I reached the platform, on which I could with difliculty 
support myself against the shock of the waves. The sky 
was threatening; but as land was in those thick brown 
shadows, we must fly. I returned to the saloon, fearing 
and yet hoping to see Captain Nemo, wishing and yet not 


wishing to see him. What could I have said to him? 
Could I hide the involuntary horror with which he in- 
spired me? No. It was better that I should not meet 

him face to face; better to forget him. And yet How 

long seemed that day, the last that I should pass in the 
Nautilus. I remained alone. Ned Land and Conseil 
avoided speaking, for fear of betraying themselves. At 
six I dined, but 1 was not hungry; I forced myself to eat, 
in spite of my disgust, that [ might not weaken myself. 
At i)alf-past six Ned Land came to my room saying, " We 
shall not see each other again before our departure. At 
ton the moon will not be risen. We will profit by the 
darkness. Come to the boat; Conseil and I will wait for 

The Canadian went ®ut without giving me time to 
answer. Wisliing to verify the course of the Nautilus, 
I went to tlie saloon. We were running N.N.E. at fright- 
ful speed, and more than fifty yards deep. I cast a last 
look on these wonders of nature, on the riches of art 
heaped up in this museum, upon the unrivaled collection 
destined to perish at the bottom of the sea, with him who 
had formed it. I wished to fix an indelible impression of 
it on my mind. I remained an hour thus, bathed in the 
light of that luminous ceiling, and passing in review those 
treasures shining under their glasses. Then I returned to 
my room. 

I dressed myself in strong sea clothing. I collected 
my notes, placing them carefully about me. My heart 
beat loudly. 1 could not check its pulsations. Certainly 
my trouble and agitation would have betrayed me to 
Captain Nemo's eyes. What was he doing at this mo- 
ment? I listened at the door of his room. I heard steps. 
Captain Nemo was there. He had not gone to rest. At 
every moment I expected to see him appear, and ask me 
why I wished to fly. I was constantly on the alert. My 
imagination magnified everything. The impression be- 
came at last so poignant, that I asked myself whether it 
would not be better to go to the captain's room, see him 
'face to face, and brave him with look and gesture. 

It was the inspiration of a madman; fortunately I re- 
sisted the desire, and stretched myself on my bed to quiet 
my bodily agitation. My nerves were somewhat calmer. 


but in my excited brain I saw over again all my existence 
on board tho Nautilus; every incident, either happy or 
unfortunate, which had happened since my disappearance 
from the Abraham Lincoln; the submjvi-ine hunt, the 
Torres Straits, the savages of Papua, the running ashore, 
the coral cemetery, the passage of Suez, the Island of 
Santorin, the Cretan diver, Vigo Bay, Atlanta, the ice- 
bergs, the South Pole, the imprisonment in the ice, the 
fight among the poulps, the storm in the Gulf Stream, the 
Avenger, and the horrible scene of the vessel sunk with 
all her crew. All these events passed before my eyes like 
scenes in a drama. Then Captain Nemo seemed to grow 
enormously, his features to assume superhuman propor- 
tions. He was no longer my equal, but a man of the 
waters, the genie of the sea. 

It was then half past nine. I held my head between 
my hands to keep it from bursting. I closed my eyes, I 
would not think any longer. There was another half-hour 
to wait, another half-hour of a nightmare, which might 
drive me mad. 

At that moment I heard the distant strains of the organ, 
a sad harmony to an undefinable chant, the wail of a soul 
longing to break these earthly bonds. I listened with 
every sense, scarcely breathing; plunged, like Captain 
Nemo, in that musical ecstasy, which was drawing him in 
spirit to the end of life. 

Then a sudden thought terrified me. Captain Nemo 
had left his room. He was in the saloon, which I must 
cross to fly. There I should meet him for the last time. 
He would see me, perhaps speak to me. A gesture of hia 
might destroy me, a single word chain me on board. 

But ten was about to strike. The moment had come 
for me to leave my room and join my companions. 

I must not hesitate, even if Captain Nemo himself 
should rise befors me. I opened my door carefully; and 
even then, as it turned on its hinges, it seemed to me to 
make a dreadful noise. Perhaps it only existed in my own 

I crept along the dark stairs of the Nautilus, stopping 
at each step to check the beating of my heart. I reached 
the door of the saloon, and opened it gently. It was 
plunged in profound darkness. The strains of the organ 


sounded faintly. Captain Nemo was there. He did not 
see me. In the full light 1 do not think he would have 
noticed me, so entirely was he absorhed in tiie ecstasy. I 
crept along the carpet, avoiding the slightest sound which 
might betray my presence. I was at least five minutes 
reaching the door, at the opposite side, opening into the 

I was going to open it, when a sigh from Captain Nemo 
nailed me to the spot. I knew that he was rising. 1 
could even see him, for the light from the library came 
through to the saloon. He came toward me silently, with 
ills arms crossed, gliding like a specter rather than walk- 
ing. His breast was swelling with sobs; and I heard him 
murmur these words (the last which ever struck my ear): 

" Almighty God! enough! enough!" 

Was it a confession of remorse which thus escaped from 
this man's conscience? 

In desperation I rushed through the library, mounted 
the central staircase, and following the upper flight 
reached the boat. I crept through the opening, which 
had already admitted my two companions. 

** Let us go! let us go!" I exclaimed. 

** Directly!" replied the Canadian. 

The orifice in the plates of the Nautilus was first closed, 
and fastened down by means of a false key, with which 
Ned Land had provided himself; the opening in the boat 
was also closed. The Canadian began to loosen the bolt 
which still held us to the submarine boat. 

Suddenly a noise within was heard. Voices were an- 
swering each other loudly. What Was the matter? Had 
they discovered our flight? I felt Ned Land slipping a 
dagger into my hand. 

" Yes," I murmured, *' we know how to die." 

The Canadian had stopped in his work. But one word 
many times repeated, a dreadful word, revealed the cause 
of the agitation spreading on board the Nautilus. It was 
not we the crew were looking after. 

** The maelstrom! the maelstrom!" I exclaimed. 

T?he maelstrom! Could a more dreadful word in a more 
dreadful situation have sounded in our ears! We were 
then upon the dangerous coast of Norway. Was the Nau- 
tilus being drawn into this gulf at the moment our boat 


was going to leave its sides? We knew that at the tide 
the pent-up waters between the islands of Faroe and 
Loflioden rush with irresistible violence, forming a whirl- 
pool from which no vessel ever escapes. From every point 
of the horizon enormous waves were meeting, forming a 
gulf justly called the " Navel of the Ocean," whose power 
of attraction extends to a distance of twelve miles. There, 
not only vessels, but whales, are sacrificed, as well as white 
bears from the northern regions. 

It is thither that the Nautilus, voluntarily or involun- 
tarily, had been run by the captain. 

It was describing a spiral, the circumference of which 
was lessened by degrees, and the boat, which was still 
fastened to its sides, was carried along with giddy speed. 
1 felt that sickly giddiness which arises from long con- 
tinued whirling round. 

We were in dread. Our horror was at its height, cir- 
culation had stopped, all nervous influence was annihilated, 
and we were covered with cold sweat, like a sweat of agony! 
And what noise around our frail bark? What roarings 
repeated by the echo miles away? What an uproar was 
that of the waters broken on the sharp rocks at the bottom, 
where the hardest bodies are crushed, and trees worn away, 
*' with all the fur rubbed off," according to the Norwegian 

What a situation to be in! We rocked frightfully. The 
Nautilus defended herself like a human being. Its steel 
muscles cracked. Sometimes it seemed to stand upright, 
»nd we with it! 

" We must hold on," said Ned, " and look after the 
bolts. We may still be saved if we stick to the Nau- 
tilus " 

He had not finished the words, when we heard a crash- 
ing noise, the bolts gave way, and the boat, torn from its 
groove, was hurled like a stone from a sling into the midst 
of the whirlpool. 

My head struck on a piece of iron, and with the violent 
shock I lost all consciousness. 




This ends the voyage under the seas. What passed 
dnring that night — how the boat escaped from the eddies 
of the maelstrom, how Ned Land, Conseil and myself ever 
came out of the gulf — I cannot tell. ^ 

But when I returned to consciousness, I was lying in a 
fisherman's hut, on the Loffoden Isles. My two com- 
panions, safe and sound, were near me holding my hands. 
We embraced each other heartily. 

At that moment we could not think of returning to 
France. The means of communication between the 
north of Norway and the south are rare, and I am there- 
fore obliged to wait for the steamboat running monthly 
from Cape North. 

And among the worthy people who have so kindly re- 
ceived us I revise my record of these adventures once more. 
Not a fact has been omitted, not a detail exaggerated. It 
is a faithful narrative of this incredible expedition in an 
element inaccessible to man, but to which Progress will 
one day open a road. 

Shall I be believed? I do not know. And it matters 
little, after all. What I now affirm is, that I have a right 
to speak of these seas, under which, in less than ten 
months, I have crossed 20,000 leagues in that submarine 
tour of the world, which has revealed so many wonders. 

But what has become of the Nautilus? Did it resist 
the pressure of the maelstrom? Does Captain Nemo still 
live? And does he still follow under the ocean those 
frightful retaliations? Or did he stop after that last 

Will the waves one day carry to him this manuscript 
containing the history of his life? Shall I ever know the 
name of this man? Will the missing vessel tell us by its 
nationality that of Captain Nemo? 

I hope so. And I also hope that his powerful vessel has 
conquered the sea at its most terrible gulf, and that the 
Nautilus lias survived where so many other vessels have 


been lost! If it be so, if Captain Nemo still inhabits the 
ocean, his adopted country, may hatred be appeased in 
that savage heart! May the contemplation of so many 
wonders extinguish forever the spirit of vengeance! May 
the judge disappear, and the philosopher continue the 
peaceful exploration of the sea! If his destiny be strange, 
it is also sublime. Have I not understood it myself? Have 
I not lived ten months of this unnatural life? And to the 
question asked by Ecclesiastes 3,000 years ago, " That 
which is far off and exceeding deep, who can find it out?'' 
two men alone of all now living have the right to give an 
Captain Nemo and myself. 


For the further adventures of Captain Nemo, see " The 
Secret of the Island," by Jules Verne. Seaside 
Library, No. 2146. Price 25 cents. 

SOUTHERN BE^ ParKing Lot 17 1333 


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